CT Pros Blog

8 Telecom Terms You Should Know when Working with Carriers


Whether you are ordering new phone service or switching to another carrier, there are some acronyms you're sure to come across during the process. 


These are used to describe the many phone carriers that provide you service. However there are a few subtle differences. 


This stands for Local Exchange Carrier. It is the local company for providing service in your local area.


Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers are the companies that originally provided service in the local area before unbundling took place after 1996.  Typically this is AT&T in most areas.  ILECs are often referred to as simply LEC.  


Competitive Local Exchange Carriers are telecommunication providers that compete with the larger LECs and have their equipment connected to the LEC. In some instances, they are able to provide more competitive pricing.  CLECs are now also building their own fiber networks and offering more cloud-based services.

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Session Initiation Protocol - SIP trunks are delivered over the internet instead of a physical copper line.  There are no minimum trunks to be ordered and they are easily scalable as the business grows.  Carriers can often deliver SIP service as PRI handoff which makes it a flexible solution.


Primary Rate Interface - PRI circuits are delivered over dedicated phone lines from the LEC to your location.  A single circuit is 23-channels.


Main Point of Entry to your business.  This is where the LEC will deliver the interface for your new telephone service.  Also referred to as the "demarc" or demarcation point.  This could be a basement location in a multi-story building for example.  Services delivered here will likely need to be extended to your business server or PBX room.


Local Number Portability - This term is used to describe an order to move your existing phone numbers from one phone service provider to another.


Point of Contact - The local onsite contact that the local phone service provider will contact when delivering new services to your business.


Letter of Authorization - This is a legal document providing permission for a telephone service provider to switch your phone numbers from one provider to another.  This is typically a paper document that the "authorized contact" on the current account are required sign.


Firm Order Commitment - This is a confirmation of order acceptance and includes the date that the losing carrier will release the phone numbers to the new carrier or that new services will be delivered.   Until you have FOC, you only have an estimated date.

Whether you handle your own telecommunications directly with your carriers, or use a telecommunications consultant partner like ourselves, it is good to still be familiar with these common terms.  The more familiar you become with industry jargon, will help you not feel intimated or overwhelmed when working and talking with your carriers and others involved in managing your phone numbers service.

Liked this article?   You might also enjoy reading our Keys to a Successful Phone System Implementation article too!






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