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Local exchange carrier

Definition

What is a local exchange carrier?

A local exchange carrier (LEC) is a telecommunications provider that caters to companies and individuals in rural areas or local access and transport areas (LATA) that are not administered by a bigger telco provider.

LECs benefit these subscribers since they allow them to contact locals. They are only allowed to handle local calls and no long-distance traffic, but they may contract with an inter-exchange carrier (IXC) to provide long-distance calls as an additional feature.

What is a local exchange carrier?

What are the responsibilities of a local exchange carrier?

The following are the primary responsibilities of the local exchange carrier: 

  • Help with number portability and offer any technical assistance as needed.
  • May not ban or put discriminatory restrictions on the selling of their telecommunications services.
  • Provide dialing consistency to all telecommunications service providers.
  • Comply with the rules established by the public service commission and set the monitoring criteria.
  • Arrange reciprocal compensation to transfer and terminate communications services.

How does a local exchange carrier (LEC) work?

According to Network Encyclopedia, the largest local exchange carriers developed from the early 1980s during the breakup of the AT&T-led Bell System. It resulted in the establishment of various independent Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs).

The largest local exchange carriers use inter-exchange carriers (IXCs) to connect their communication networks. Through mergers, acquisitions, and new technology, they enable IXCs to deliver services directly to designated locations.

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