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Incumbent and Competitive Local Exchange Carriers

Also Known As: ILEC, CLEC

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Before the Telecommunications Act of 1996, telephone companies operated as legal monopolies in defined territories of service, called exchanges. After the 1996 act and its emphasis on competition, these carriers became incumbent local exchange carriers in their operating territories. At the same time competing local exchange carriers were allowed to enter any territory, build their own infrastructure, and offer services.

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