Glossary of Communications 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.
- CLEC - Competitive Local Exchange Carriers are companies competing for local telephone
- 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
- 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.