The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports. When the CRTC launched its proceeding on Voice over IP last week, many applauded the commission’s decision to move on the matter. Others are asking, however, how long-delayed decisions on two critical telecom issues will further affect the competitive landscape.   ILECs and CLECs alike have been waiting a long time for the CRTC to settle matters surrounding competitor digital network access (CDNA) and the interconnection regime. Both are likely to have an impact on the cost structures of competing providers, and thus their ability to provide viable, sustainable, facilities-based competition to the incumbents. It’s unclear why the commission has taken so long to decide matters that appear to be fundamental to the furthering of competition in the local residential market. But now that it has launched the much-anticipated VoIP proceeding, decisions regarding these two matters take on even greater importance. In the case of interconnection, CLECs want the commission to mandate only one point of interconnection per local exchange, as opposed to duplicating incumbents’ networks requested by ILECs. Depending on which way the commission decides, this could have a significant impact on the financial outlay required by CLECs to serve urban areas. Dennis Béland, Microcell Telecommunications’ director of regulatory affairs, tells Network Letter that some of the issues addressed in that proceeding (Public Notice 2001-126), such as the rationalization of the interconnection regime, are "going to play a big role" in addressing VoIP and competitive issues. A decision in 2001-126 will provide not only clarity to the VoIP proceeding, but it will also offer consistency. For competition in the local residential market to succeed, competitive providers have to be afforded as much flexibility as possible and easing their local interconnection requirements is certainly a step in the right direction. "How do you make local interconnection work in a VoIP context?" Béland asks. It’s a legitimate question and one for which the CRTC has yet to provide an answer. It’s going on three years since the commission began studying this issue, dubbed the "Network of Networks proceeding" and it’s about time a decision was made so that the debate on VoIP can proceed with all the cards on the table.