There are two types of telecom companies that utilize the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (ILECs) and Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLECs).
ILECs are also known as incumbents, tier one providers or the phone companies. CLECS are the phone company’s competitors; they’re tier two providers or resellers.
AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink are ILECs. Windstream, TW Telecom, XO, Integra and Telepacific are examples of CLECs.
The ILECs own the local PSTN, from the local loops to the central offices, and all the wiring in between. CLECs lease local loops (access to end users) and colocation space in the ILECs’ wire centers.
ILECS can take on the role of CLECs outside their footprint. CLECs are never ILECS. ILECs service residential and business customers. CLECs stick to servicing business customers primarily.
It’s important that CLECs exist because they help keep the telecom industry competitive. Still, some businesses consider it a risk to enter into a business agreement with a CLEC.
Here are some ways to reduce the risk of working with a CLEC:
Ways to maximize the effectiveness of CLECs:
ILECs would prefer that companies remain ignorant and fearful of CLECs, but there are many good ones and they shouldn’t be penalized for delivering services in a manner that was set forth by the FCC and Public Utility Commissions.
CLECs should be part of every company’s telecommunication portfolio. Utilizing a telecom consultant can facilitate the use and ease the concerns of using these providers.