This “Intention Economy” book is terrific.
Chapter 14 deals with “net-heads” (those who appreciate how the network effect powers the ‘net) and “bell-heads” (those who want to extract a toll for operating ‘net infrastructure). Carriers are, of course, bell-heads.
Carriers are also quite concerned about turning into dumb pipes. They scrutinize every use of their right-of-way to find extra opportunities for tarriff and control. They are determined not “get turned into a dumb pipe.”
What @dsearls makes clear is that this very behavior turns them into dumb pipes. They turn themselves into dumb pipes. By offering only obstacles to use of their right-of-way, they insure that every interesting use will try to go elsewhere, and that every interesting use will try to minimize contact with them.
I’m not expressing myself very well here, but I think the point is clear: the way not to be a dumb pipe is to embrace the diversity — and the independence — of the various uses that can be made of your pipe, and think of a few of your own. Neither behavior is a carrier strong suit.