The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports. When the CRTC recently ruled that big bad Bell Canada and TELUS Corp. would have to continue under the regulatory yoke for the forseeable future in offering their Voice over IP services, many columnists and observers were quick to note that they saw proof of the CRTC’s meddling ways in a decision that effectively re-regulated the Internet. Voice over IP, they said, was a service much like AOL’s Instant Messenger, and the commission shouldn’t be regulating what it said it wouldn’t regulate. While those editorialsts missed a fundamental point – that VoIP still has a significant tie to traditional phone service through interconnection with the PSTN – there is nonetheless some validity to what they argued. The Canadian Association of Broadcasters will likely have the Voice over IP decision in mind as it approaches the question of content delivered via IP to the mobile handset. The VoIP decision wasn’t popular in many quarters, but it was a good indication that the commission is willing to refine on the fly its exemption order to suit evolving issues, and that its definition of "Internet" is still evolving. There are hundreds of millions of dollars at stake in the short term in both the broadcasting and telecom spheres as each shifts its delivery mechanism to Internet Protocol. In his recent book, John Ralston Saul speaks eloquently about the "vapourization" of money in the last telecom and Internet bubbles. To avoid a repeat of that, and to provide clarity to the businesses involved and their shareholders – who at the end of the day are you and I – the commission has a responsibility to provide a roadmap about what it will or won’t consider as exempt Internet services. The CAB’s insightful argument that proposed services delivering music and TV to cell phones isn’t the Internet is just one view. It may be the right one. But, that’s not a decision best made in piecemeal fashion. The CRTC must re-visit its new media exemption order soon to avoid further vapourizing of money in an unnecessarily uncertain business environment.