A “telephone” is an apparatus for the transmission of human speech or other sounds over distances greater than the limits of ordinary human audibility. The business of transmitting information by telephone is quasi-public in character. The law treats telephone companies both as common carriers of information and as public utilities. As such, telephone companies are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) at the federal level and by public utility commissions at the state level. Telephone systems may generally be owned and operated by a partnership, an individual, or a corporation.
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