Common Telephony Terms

Telecommunications is full of acronyms. If you don’t know what they mean not only will you be lost, you may end up making a decision based on a misunderstanding. Some acronyms just knowing what letters means explain the meaning others may need some additional explanation.

Here are some common ones as they relate to your telephone system and telephone carrier.

MLTS – Multi-line Telephone systems.
This is any type of telephone system where a user has access to more than one line or one line may have many different users. These would be PBX’s, Key Systems and services provided by carriers that mimic these type of systems. It’s estimated that as many as half of the population is living, working or studying in locations that use a Multi-line system, since most banks, schools, business and libraries have this type of telephone system.

LEC – Local Exchange Carrier
This is the company that supplies service to your local location. On top of this there are CLEC and the lesser used ILEC. CLEC is Competitive Local Exchange carrier. Most locations in the US have their local service by one of the original Bell Operating companies. These companies are also call RBOC or Regional Bell Operation Company. These are also known as ILEC or Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier. The RBOC that served your area when the divestiture of ATT in the 1980’s is your ILEC. Any company that supplies service but is not the ILEC is considered a CLEC. They compete with the Incumbent.

IXC – IntereXchange Carrier
This is your toll-calling (long distance) provider.

LATA – Local Access and Transport Area
Part of the ATT divestiture created these area. It refers to a geographic region assigned to one or more telephone companies for providing communication services. Under the terms the Bell Operating Companies are generally not allowed to provide services that originate in one LATA and terminate in another.

The following terms may not be used as often any more as they once were. They were the basis of pricing on Long Distance costs.

IntraLATA
Refer to calls that originate and terminate in the same LATA.

InterLATA
Refer to calls that originate in one LATA and terminate in another. This term is seldom used if the calls cross state lines.

IntraState
Refers to calls that originate and terminate in the same state but in different LATA’s.

InterState
Refers to calls that originate in one state and terminate in another.

International
Calls to another country.

I’m sure you are aware that countries have country codes associated with them. Have you ever wonder what the US country code is? It’s amazing how many don’t realize it, but use it all of the time.

It’s ‘1’.

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