The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports. For decades, Canadians have relied on their residential telephones as a key safety technology. More than anything else, in recent years, emergency 911 service has become a lifeline helping save lives and property.  We expect that during storms and emergencies, we’ll have a dialtone available to us, with a voice on the other end ready to send help should we need it. It came as no surprise that during public hearings into new VoIP offerings, and the regulatory model that should be in place to govern them, much of the CRTC’s questioning was focused on this public safety aspect. VoIP systems present a problem for network designers since a VoIP telephone number could be used from almost anywhere there is high-speed access – a hotel, a city park, the office. While the CRTC’s preliminary view of 911 service over VoIP networks is that providers should strive to offer it as soon as is practical, there was a palpable sense at the hearings that this starting point might change. There are some workarounds to the mobility problem: databases, sign-on registrations, even using a physical connection to the PSTN. Ultimately, though, what many companies offered the CRTC was their view that consumers can be explicitly offered the option not to take 911 service as part of a VoIP package. Companies such as Vonage have built explicit notices into their sign-up procedures, and others will follow. VoIP is unlikely to replace primary landline service in Canada in the near term. There is time before 911 needs to be mandated into VoIP services.  We hope the CRTC backs away from its initial position, and instead regulates VoIP with a light touch in this instance, building only explicit notice instructions into its regulatory framework. Ultimately, VoIP providers will be spurred by consumer demand to find workable solutions to the 911 problem.