CLECPronounced see-lek. Short for competitive local exchange carrier, a telephone company that competes with an incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) such as a Regional Bell Operating Company (RBOC), GTE, ALLNET, etc.
With the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, there has been an explosion in the number of CLECs. The Act allows companies with CLEC status to use ILEC infrastructure in two ways:
1) Access to UNEs
Important to CLEC telecommunications networking is the availability of unbundled network elements or UNEs (through a collocation arrangement). UNEs are defined by the Act as any "facility or equipment used in the provision of a telecommunications service," as well as "features, functions, and capabilities that are provided by means of such facility or equipment." For CLECs the most important UNE available to them is the local loop, which connects the ILEC switches to the ILEC's present customers. With the local loop, CLECs will be able to connect their switches with the ILEC's switches, thus giving them access to ILEC customers.
Another option open to CLECs is the resale strategy. The Act states that any telecommunications services ILECs offer at retail, must be offered to CLECs at a wholesale discount. This saves the CLEC from having to invest in switches, fiber optic transmission facilities, or collocation arrangements.
In any case, a CLEC may decide on one or the other or even both. CLEC status is very beneficial, especially for ISPs, who may easily get access to the copper loops and other switching elements necessary to provide xDSL services.
Stay up to date on the latest developments in Internet terminology with a free weekly newsletter from Webopedia. Join to subscribe now.
Webopedia's student apps roundup will help you to better organize your class schedule and stay on top of assignments and homework. Read More »List of Free Shorten URL Services
A URL shortener is a way to make a long Web address shorter. Try this list of free services. Read More »Top 10 Tech Terms of 2015
The most popular Webopedia definitions of 2015. Read More »
The Open System Interconnection (OSI) model defines a networking framework to implement protocols in seven layers. Use this handy guide to compare... Read More »Computer Architecture Study Guide
This Webopedia study guide describes the different parts of a computer system and their relations. Read More »What Are Network Topologies?
Network Topology refers to layout of a network. How different nodes in a network are connected to each other and how they communicate is... Read More »