The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports. A major shift has occurred in the way Canadians communicate due to the rapid convergence of content onto IP pipes. While the march of technology proceeds apparently unstoppably, Canadian government officials are failing to deal with the difficult question of a Canadian presence on the multitude of new communications platforms. Without a comprehensive review of present and potential policy in the context of this new paradigm, the opportunity to ensure Canadian voices are heard in the new communications din are being lost.  Luckily, there is already a process underway looking at one part of the overall equation – a review of Canada’s telecommunications law. With appropriate leadership, it is not to late to transform that review into a more meaningful examination of all of Canada’s communications regulations in a broadband age. Such a review, one that places content on the same pedestal as pipes, will ultimately do both the media and telecommunications industries the greatest good. VoIP telcos, for example, may depend on the extent to which they incorporate content other than voice into their offerings.  Canada’s laws put the two sectors into separate silos. The telecom review, argue some, is an opportunity to begin examining voice as an important form of IP content along with others. For the competitive entrants into the voice arena a regulatory scheme that encourages the introduction of creative new applications to ride the same pipe will be key to breaking the incumbents’ stranglehold on the local telephony market. New media players in Canada must pay careful attention to the debate. There are multiple choke points in the current system where regulatory leverage could be applied to help the industry. In the current environment, however, the piecemeal thinking about telecom and broadcasting means those opportunities go unexploited, and, worse than inaction, actual harm may be being done to Canadian content companies. For example, American companies are fast exploiting new satellite radio networks for even more cutting edge applications such as the delivery of television to vehicles. More hype than reality for the time being, but still promising, companies such as Microsoft are working to deliver content stored on home media networks to vehicles and other mobile environments for fully customized consumption.  In Canada, however, a sloppy definition of "Internet" is giving incumbent media companies plenty of ammunition to stall similar initiatives here. The New Media Exemption Order, it appears, has not been helpful to the wireless companies hoping to deliver content to mobile phones. It was certainly not helpful to iCraveTV or JumpTV as they attempted to become new media intermediaries of content.  Considering voice and broadcast content in the same proceeding may also open up funding doors to content creators. For example, this week Industry Canada announced a new block of PCS spectrum that will soon be made available to interested buyers. The conditions that will apply to those licence winners will be much the same as in previous rounds, including the provision that those winners apply 2% of gross revenues to R&D, most narrowly defined.  Given that wireless is increasingly looking viable as a broadcast channel, why not give licence winners in the next round the option to put some of those revenues into Canadian content creation? Research and development into pipes and applications is helpful, but Canada’s wireless industry tends to follow global technology trends. Putting that money into content could well result in greater bang for the buck as our filmmakers and other content creators become global leaders in creating mobile content.  New media producers cried foul when the BCE/CTV Groundbreaker Fund benefits package was used largely to fund Canadian Idol. That one production, however, is significantly responsible for the kick-start of SMS text messaging in Canada, the popularity of which has forced wireless carriers to cooperate in a way that has led quickly to similar cooperation on shared multimedia messaging. The underlying lesson for regulators is that content spending on non-traditional media can pay back in spades across the broadcasting and telecom spectrum.  A telecom review that does not look at the barriers to creating that Canadian cultural content destined for delivery across a variety of platforms will have been time largely wasted.  Rules that keep new players from delivering creative applications must be revisited, and opportunities to fund content must be exploited if the government is to fulfill that mandate. The CRTC and Cabinet have dropped the ball on a reexamination of the New Media Exemption Order. That lost opportunity can be made up if the telecommunications review now underway is properly focused.  On a personal note, this is my final issue of Canadian NEW MEDIA as I pursue a new opportunity beginning next month. I would like to express my considerable gratitude to the many readers and sources who have supported the newsletter over the course of these more than five past years. It has been an incredible journey of learning and friendship, and I’m deeply touched at the participation I have been allowed in the early years of such a promising industry. I will continue to follow developments in the new media field keenly, and look forward to many more years of collaboration with many of you who have made it possible.