The related devblog is here: http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=2899
I’ve read quite a few of the comments regarding this, and I bet to a certain extent CCP is surprised by the response. However, I have to give props to CCP Omen for staying with it for such a long period of time. Clearly however, though, he did have a fairly.. interesting (read: somewhat naive) view of how this would work in null-sec and low-sec. Let me break it down based on where you might currently live:
For High-Sec Dwellers: The only change to PI would be that you will probably make more money in the long run (perhaps even in the short run). All the High-sec Customs Offices will remain, with the only changes being a 50% increase on the export/import taxes (means that it take more money to move things on and off planet) and a 500% increase on the overall bandwidth (which means you can produce more per planet). Overall, expect the panic to benefit high-sec PI players as the prices skyrocket, but things will settle down after say a month or two.
For Null-sec Dwellers: Again, not much change really. More bandwidth means more can get produced per planet, but now the local null-sec rulers will have a tad more control over PI operations. The more interesting issue will be how the taxes are handled, that either being a free-for-all where every corp sets up a tax on use against other corporations in the alliance, or if all Customs Offices will be forced to have either a single low tax across all their territory or no taxes at all. Expect alliances to take a portion of those taxes for themselves.
Wormhole Dwellers: The real battle in this will be the C1 and C2 worm holes, where resources and access are more limited. The initial rush will prove to be critical because getting enough ships in to remove a Custom Office will be a challenge in of itself, especially if there are any modifiers to shield present in the system. However, from C3 on up, there will be increased ability to both destroy and maintain Custom Offices. This, of course, means that those who actually reside in the wormholes itself will have the greatest ability to both attack and maintain their own Custom Offices. There has been some upset “ninja wormhole PI’ers” who are clearly preturbed that they can no longer siphon resources, and this change definately means that their operations will no longer be worthwhile.
Low-sec Dwellers: This is probably the most contentious and problematic of all the areas. And it is here that no one can accurately tell what the outcome will be. I am a bit.. nervous though. CCP Omen does seem to have a bit of “wishful thinking” in his corner and the CSM, being largely made up of 0.0 proponents and most notably a Chairman from the infamous Goonswarm, may not have a good understanding of all that it might finally entail. Initially, there is little doubt that there will be a made rush to put up Customs Offices at critical plasma, lava, and barren planets. I see all of the major nullsec alliances doing this, competing both with pirate groups and large industrial alliances. I believe that the major nullsec alliances and pirate groups will win out, simply because they are combat prepared. The smart corporations/alliances, whereever their backing, will reduce the taxes to just below that of high-sec CONCORD Offices, but not above the point where the locals will band together and repeatedly destroy your office just out of spite. There will still be quite a few conflicts as most pirate corporations don’t/can’t think that way. Expect to see more low-sec alliances being formed as well as more industrial alliances adding PVP corps or developing their own PVP abilities. After six months, I think many of the null-sec controlled Customs Offices will have been removed because their upkeep and their defense will be too difficult to maintain logistically. After a year, I doubt any but a rare few low-sec planets will have direct null-sec alliance control because the overall costs of defending their taxing sites will not justify maintaining that control.
Overall: I think this is a surprisingly innovative idea that will have much farther reaching implications than even what the CSM or CCP has believed. My own thoughts on this is that the resulting low-sec will be ideal for prepping low-sec residing corporations and alliances for what lies ahead in null-sec. With high value items like plasma planets acting as sort of a “Tech moon” in low-sec, we can expect low-sec areas to become more stabilized and established, with the initial starting of “fiefdoms”. These fiefdoms may be the beginning of concentrated low-sec political power that will finally be a rival to null-sec political power (this is a good thing..).
However, I see the biggest problem to this whole thing, what will be a thorn in the side of everything, is the current sec status mechanics. Those will have to be changed because the current system is uneven and frustrating.. and thus will impact negatively on making low-sec their “home”.