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Telecommunications Glossary

Caller ID - A telecommunications service by which a customer can identify the telephone number and/or the name of the listing for that number of an incoming call. 

Central Office - A location where there is an assembly of equipment that establishes the connections between subscriber access lines, trunks, switched access circuits, private line facilities, and special access facilities with the rest of the telephone network. 

Complaint - If a customer contacts the ORS concerning a problem with a regulated utility and the ORS staff has reason to believe that there may have been an apparent rule or tariff infraction, the ORS will initiate a complaint investigation with the utility. The utility must then respond to the customer's allegations through the ORS. 

Extended calling service - A type of telephone service whereby customers of a given exchange may complete calls to and, where applicable, receive calls from an exchange without the application of long distance charges. 

Franchise fee - Local governments are authorized to charge utilities a fee for the use of the right-of-way. The fee, known as a franchise fee, is passed on to the customers. 

Nonregulated charges - Charges on a customer's telephone bill for services that do not fall under the jurisdiction of the PSC. Nonregulated charges must be identified as such on the customer's bill. 

PICC- Pronounced "pixie," the Presubscribed Interexchange Carrier Charge is an access charge that long distance companies pay to local telephone companies (as of January 1, 1998). Instead of paying a higher charge per minute to the local telephone companies as was required under the old FCC rules, the long distance companies now pay to local telephone companies a flat-rate, per-telephone line charge plus a lower charge per minute. This charge may be passed on to customers. 

Portability - The ability to keep your telephone number when changing from one telephone company to another. 

Tariff - Documents filed with the PSC and the ORS by regulated companies that contain the rates the utility charges for its services. The tariff also contains rules and regulations specific to that particular utility.

Basic Telephone Service-- telephone connection, dial tone and touch-tone service. 

CLEC -- Competitive Local Exchange Carrier -- A telephone company in competition with the LEC to provide the same services. 

Cramming -- Unauthorized, misleading, or deceptive charges for products or services on a consumer’s telephone bill. 

FCC -- The Federal Communications Commission -- The federal telecommunications regulatory body. Responsible for interstate and international telecommunications regulation and other telecommunications programs legislated by the federal government. 

ILEC -- Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier -- The telephone company that occupied a specific area and was providing services on the effective date of The Telecommunications Act of 1996 and was a member of the Exchange Carrier Association. 

INTERLATA Calls -- Toll calls made from one LATA to another LATA -- Long distance calls within the state. 

Interstate Calls -- Long Distance Calls made from one state to a location within another state. The Federal Communications Commission regulates these calls. 

INTRALATA Calls -- Toll calls made within the LATA - Short distance toll calling. 

LATA -- Local Access and Transport Area -- A contiguous geographic calling area established by judicial consent degree with the divestiture of AT&T. 

LEC -- Local Exchange Carrier -- The local telephone company. 

Lifeline -- A discounted telephone service for low-income customers. Lifeline reduces the monthly basic telephone charge. 

Link-Up -- A discounted charge for installation of telephone service for low-income customers. 

Local Calling -- Calls made within the LEC calling area and all calls made from one point within a county to another point within the same county. 

PIC -- Preferred Inter-Exchange Carrier -- The long distance service provider of choice. 

PIC Freeze -- An entry on the customer’s LEC customer record that the long distance carrier (PIC) is not to be changed except by notification from the customer. 

Slamming -- Unauthorized changing of a consumer’s long distance service provider, changing without that consumer’s written or oral authorization. 

TDD -- Telecommunications Device for the Deaf 

Telephone Cooperatives -- Non-profit telephone companies that typically service rural areas. 

Relay Center -- The telecommunications service center that relays telephone conversations between TTY users to standard telephone users in strict confidence. There is no charge to access this service. 

TTY -- Text Telephone -- Commonly referred to as a TDD utilized by the deaf or hard- of-hearing to conduct regular telephone communications. 

Universal Service -- A public policy objective designed to make telecommunications services affordable and access able to all citizens.