Communications is a tightly controlled industry in the U.S. With new hosted PBX technologies, some issues have cropped up that caused the FCC to run into a snag when it comes to properly regulating them. Some of these might seem like simple semantics, but even something as minor as figuring out what to call a hosted PBX service can snowball into something more serious.
Look at it this way- there are separate regulations for information services and telecommunications services. Information services, like the internet, are not as tightly regulated as telecommunications services, like telephone services. So… how should regulators qualify Voice-over-IP systems? They’re essentially a telecommunications service, but one that relies on the internet. Do calls made over the internet qualify as phone calls, or as internet data content? Calling them an “internet content” would make internet-based phone services subject to far fewer regulations than traditional phone services. Needless to say, VoIP service providers are pushing for an information services classification, while traditional phone companies are lobbying for a telecommunications services classification.