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IXC (Interexchange Carrier)

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Note: Many topics at this site are reduced versions of the text in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications." Search results will not be as extensive as a search of the book's CD-ROM.

An IXC is a telecommunications carrier that provides service between LECs (local exchange carriers). LECs may be the incumbent carriers that were formed by the breakup of AT&T (previously called the RBOCs or "regional Bell operating companies"), or they may be CLECs (competitive local exchange carriers), which operate as competitive carriers in the same area as the incumbent LECs.

LECs operate within one or more local areas called the LATA (local access and transport area). The IXCs (interexchange carriers) provide inter-LATA service (basically, long-distance service). They are allowed to co-locate equipment at LEC facilities and tap into the LEC's switching equipment so that LEC customers can make long-distance calls across the IXC's network. All LECs must provide interexchange carriers with an access point, called the PoP (point of presence). Common IXCs are AT&T, MCI Worldcom, and Sprint. This topic is covered in more detail under "Service Providers and Carriers" and "Telecommunications Regulation."

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