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Division of Communications


Glossary of Terms
  • Access Charges - Long distance companies pay local phone companies access charges to use their network for originating and terminating long distance calls. The charges are based on minutes of use. They are commonly passed through to customers as part of the per-minute toll rate.

  • BLETS - Basic Local Exchange Telephone Service

  • CLEC - Competitive Local Exchange Carriers are companies competing for local telephone business.

  • Cramming - the practice of placing unauthorized, misleading, or deceptive charges on your telephone bill.

  • FCC - The Federal Communications Commission has the authority to regulate all interstate communications (including cellular) originating in the United States. The FCC is run by a five-member board appointed by the President.

  • Federal Subscriber Line Charge (SLC) - A monthly fee paid by telephone subscribers that is used to compensate the local telephone company for part of the cost of installation and maintenance of telephone wires.

  • ILEC - Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers are companies that provided local telephone service to customers in Virginia on December 31, 1995, and held a certificate from the SCC.

  • IXC - Interexchange Carriers are companies that are allowed to provide long distance telephone service to customers.

  • Landline - Traditional wired telephone service.

  • Lifeline Service - A minimal telephone service designed for low income consumers to assure they can be reached by phone and have a “lifeline” to the world. The basic rate for this service is less than standard rates.

  • Local Loop - The physical wires that run from the subscriber’s telephone set, or PBX or key telephone system, to the telephone company’s central office or switch.

  • Reseller - A company that provides telecommunications service by buying the service on a wholesale basis from another company and reselling the services to the public.

  • Slamming - The practice of switching a telephone customer’s long distance supplier without obtaining permission from the customer.

  • State Corporation Commission (SCC) - The agency charged with regulating local and intrastate long distance telephone service within the Commonwealth.

  • Tariff - The documents filed by a company describing its services and the rates, terms and conditions under which those services are offered.

  • Telecommunications Act of 1996 - Federal legislation enacted in 1996 to promote competition and reduce regulation in order to secure lower priced and higher quality services for American telecommunications consumers, and encourage the rapid deployment of new telecommunications technologies. The Act gave various powers to the FCC and states to accomplish these goals.

  • Universal Service - The nationally recognized policy of providing every household with at least one access telephone line.