Short for unbundled network element, parts of a network that ILECs are required to offer to their customers on an unbundled basis. Important to CLEC telecommunications networking is the availability of UNEs (through a collocation arrangement). UNEs are defined by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 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.