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Access charge

A fee charged by a local exchange carrier to subscribers or long distance companies for the use of its local exchange network facilities.


In telecommunications, a type of transmission of voice or video where the signal is sent as a stream of changing radio waves and is similar to what is received.

Alternative Operator Service Providers (AOS)

Alternative Operator Service Providers (AOS) are basically nontraditional companies providing telephone operator services. Operator services involve operator assistance in placing a call. The most common services are alternative methods of paying for a call, such as:

  • Collect calling
  • Charging the call to a third party
  • Paying by credit card (either a major credit card or telephone company calling card.).

AOS providers are resellers who also provide operator services to:

  • Payphones

  • Hotels

  • Other locations used by travelers and the general public.


Cellular service is a form of wireless telephone that uses FM radio waves to transmit conversations.  Cellular calls are transmitted using either digital or analog technology. Through analog transmission, your voice is actually carried on the airwaves. Digital transmission transforms the human voice into computer language, providing greater system capacity.


Cloning is when a wireless phone has been programmed to duplicate another wireless phone. This is often used to mislead a wireless carrier by placing illegal calls without any intention of payment. The misleader uses the fake or "cloned" numbers until detected, placing as many calls as he or she can. Wireless phones which are 100% digital cannot be cloned.

Cordless Phone

Cordless phones are a type of telephone set that offer customers portability in their premises.  They send radio signals from a base unit to the handset and from the handset back to the base. Signals from cordless phones can be picked up by a number of other devices including radio scanners, baby monitors, radios and other cordless phones. 


Cramming means that charges were added to your telephone bill for services that were not ordered, authorized, or received.  Nationwide, cramming is the fastest-growing category of complaints received by the FCC.  In Wisconsin, cramming complaints in 1998 were up 460% over 1997 totals.

Custom Calling Features

Custom calling features are optional services that are meant to help customers make better use of their telephone service. Examples include call waiting, call forwarding, three-way calling, and voice mail. They are available from your local telephone company at additional monthly rates. The menu of custom calling features varies by local company. Not all companies offer the same services and the names of the features may also differ.

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Directory Assistance

Directory assistance is a service provided by telephone companies to their customers whereby customers may access directory assistance operators to obtain telephone numbers.

Extended Area Service (EAS)

Extended Area Service (EAS) is the ability to place local calls to other exchanges. Many companies do not charge separately for this service, but include it in the rate for local service. Other companies charge either a flat fee , a rate per call, or a rate per minute for these EAS calls.

Extended Community Calling

ECC is a service to promote equality of local calling areas. ECC is charged per minute (at rates generally lower than long distance), but at a lower rate than toll calls.  ECC only affects calling that was previously considered toll calling to exchanges that are either neighboring to or within 15 miles of the caller's exchange. Mileage is based on the location of the rate center for each exchange; for most exchanges this is the location of the switching center.

Exchange boundaries

Exchange boundaries define the area connected to a particular telephone company switch. In the early days of telephone service, switches were generally located in cities or villages and the lines extended in all directions until they encountered customers receiving service from the opposite direction. Eventually, companies defined their exchanges so that customer service requests could be met and facilities could be planned and constructed to meet expected needs.

Federal Subscriber Line Charge (SLC)

SLC is a federally-approved monthly fee paid by the telephone subscribers that is used to compensate the local telephone company for part of the cost of the investment and maintenance of the telephone wire, poles, and other facilities that link a home or business to the telephone network.  These wires, poles, and other facilities are referred to as the "local loop". The SLC is one component of access charges.  For residential customers, the SLC is now $3.50 per month for one line, but is higher for additional lines.

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Internet Voice Communication

Internet Voice Communication is a way that  you can talk over the Internet with no traditional long distance charges.  You do have to pay the cost to be connected to the Internet and any long distance or extended community calling charges to reach your internet service provider. If you have a microphone, speakers and sound hardware, you can talk to other people through the Internet.  But some other Internet Voice Communication features have different computer system requirement. You may need to upgrade your computer to get started.

Intraexchange Calling

Intraexchange calling means calls placed to other customers within the caller's exchange. The exchange is a basic building block of telephone service. Local service facilities in an exchange radiate from the central office (the wire center) over telephone cable and wires to homes and businesses in the urban area and outlying rural areas. Calling within the exchange is local service

Lifeline/Link-up Services

These are programs that help qualify low-income households afford local telephone service. Lifeline assists with monthly telephone bills and Link-up assists with connection and installation charges.

Local Access and Transport Areas (LATA)

Wisconsin is divided into four primary geographic LATAs. You may have different choices for calls within your LATA than for calls that cross LATA boundaries.  IntraLATA calls (also known as local toll calls) are calls made within your Local Access Transport Area (LATA) but are billed similar as long distance calls.

Local long distance service

Local long distance refers to calls outside of your local calling area, but within your Local Access and Transport Area (LATA). Wisconsin is divided into four LATAs. These calls are also referred to as local toll, or intraLATA calls.  A call from Madison to La Crosse or Milwaukee to Kenosha, are local long distance or IntraLATA calls. This category of calls has been opened up to competition, so Wisconsin customers may choose a carrier for these calls.  Some may need to dial an access code to reach the company of their choice.

Local telephone number portability (LNP)

Local telephone number portability  allows customers to keep their existing telephone number when they switch to another local telephone company.

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Network Interface Device (NID)

A Network Interface Device (NID) is the demarcation point between the telephone company facilities and the wiring in a home or business.  A NID allows the customer who is experiencing trouble, such as noise or lack of dial tone, to perform preliminary tests of service by connecting a telephone at the NID to locate the source of the service problem themselves. In many cases, the utility has installed a (NID) where the phone line enters the home.

Pay- per- call and information services

900 or 976 numbers are called "pay-per-call" services. Charges for number starting with 900 or 976 number calls, which are often much more than regular long-distance rates, are set by the 900 or 976 number companies, not by the government or by the telephone companies that carry the calls.  Pay-per-call and information services are often used interchangeably.  Pay-per-call is a specific type of information service while information services is a broad term that includes 900 number pay-per-call services and services that are offered by dialing numbers other than 900 numbers.  Customers can have access to these numbers blocked on their lines.

Personal Communication Service

PCS is a form of wireless which uses digital technology.


This term is used to describe the selection of a particular long distance carrier to handle all calls dialed with 1 plus the area code and phone number.

Presubscribed Interexchange Carrier Charge (PICC)

PICC is a charge on the long distance portion of your phone bill and may appear as "Presubscribed Interexchange Carrier charge", "Presubscribed Line Charge",  or "Carrier Line Charge".  The FCC allows local phone companies to charge long distance companies for the use of local telephone line.  Many long distance companies recover these cost by charging the consumer.

Primary Interexchange carrier (PIC)

The PIC is the main long distance carrier used for 1+ dialing through which all long distance toll calls are made.

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A carrier that does not own transmission facilities, but obtains communications services from another carrier for resale to the public for a profit.

Rights-of-way and private easement

Rights-of-way (R/W) and easements are defined as the right to pass over, through, or underneath property owned by another party or a right afforded to a person to make limited use of another's real property. The most typical types of rights-of-way are granted in the form of blanket and private easements.  A blanket easement may be granted by a municipality to a utility for installing its facilities on road rights-of-way.  In the case of a private easement, the landowner grants the utility permission to install a cable or building facility on the privately owned property.  This easement is filed with the county register of deeds and will appear on the property deed.


Slamming occurs when a customer's long distance service is switched from one long distance company to another company without the customer's permission.  Such unauthorized switching violates FCC rules.

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A statement by a communication company that sets forth the services offered by that company, the rates, and terms and conditions for the use of those services.

Technology for Educational Achievement (TEACH) Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Legislature passed a law requiring local phone companies to pay into the state's Universal Service Fund (USF) through a TEACH assessment. The TEACH program makes lower cost data lines and video links available to schools and libraries. The law also allows local phone companies to pass these costs to consumers through increased rates. For more information about the TEACH programs, please visit its web site at

Telecommunications Equipment Purchase Program (TEPP)

The TEPP is to help persons with disabilities buy equipment they need in order to use basic telephone services. The TEPP is one of several different programs paid for by the Wisconsin Universal Service Fund (USF) established by the Public Service Commission. Money collected from Wisconsin telephone service providers goes into the USF.

Universal Service Fund (USF)

To promote and protect affordable telephone service to low-income persons, to persons with disabilities, to customers in high-cost areas, and to schools, libraries and health care providers, both state and federal laws have established a USF to keep rates low and provide specific support to telephone companies or specific users.  Providers are assessed by these USFs to fund these programs.


Wireless is a radio technology that enables the user to make and receive telephone calls virtually anywhere they go (within wireless coverage areas). Wireless (radio) technology is used in many familiar devices.  For example, television remote controls, garage door openers, AM/FM radios and televisions. More recent examples would include cellular phones, personal communication service, pagers, and cordless phones.

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