What if voice were free?

Lots of hype about the recent funding of Skype to the tune of $18M US. Yes, part of this is the classic "let's run with this and look for a business model later". But let's not forget that Skype is a true disruptor:

If recent announcements are correct then we will see the capability for Skype to Phone (as in PSTN). There is a general assumption that Skype will have to charge for calls into the local phone network or to a local cellphone. I believe their intent will be to make such calls free.

Unbound Spiral: Skype Xfire Presence

Comparisons are being made to Hotmail, which was one of the first free email providers. Now for the punch line: email is now essentially free (nevermind the part about how many would also now gladly pay for virus- and spam-free email -- that's the other side of the curve).

I think that Skype could very easily and cheaply build out VoIP gateways with nothing more than a couple of local phone lines and some Linux gear.