FAQ: Glossary of Terms

FAQ: Glossary of Terms


Refers to a time period; for a telephone number. when the number is waiting to be reassigned; for A/R, refers to an outstanding customer balance, i.e. 30 days, 60 days.

In telecommunications, analog is a way of sending signals-voice, video, and data-in which the transmitted signal is analogous to the original signal. In analog transmission, the signal, along with all the garbage it has picked up, is simply amplified. Three major problems by users of analog cellular are: static, loss/interruption of signal during handoff, and failure to get a connection. Cellular pones use analog technology. See Digital.


Back haul is a verb. A communications channel is back hauling when it takes traffic beyond its destination and back. There are many reasons it might do this. The first is that is may be cheaper to for that route instead of going directly because you might have a private line working. You might, for example, have a full-time private line from New York to Dallas. You might find it cheaper to reach Nashville by going to Dallas first , then dialing back to Nashville.

The relative range of analog frequencies or digital signals that can be passed through a transmission medium, such as glass fibers, without distortion. The greater the bandwidth, the greater the information carrying capacity. Bandwidth is measured in Hertz (analog) or Bits Per Second (digital).

Base Station
A networking installation which houses the equipment needed to set up and complete calls on wireless phones, i.e. transmitter and receiver equipment, antennas, and computers. The base station works along with the subscriber’s handset and the Mobile Switching Center (MSC) to complete call and or data transmission. In a PCS system, the base station is a system comprised of base transceiver station (BTS) and base station controller (BSC).

Billed Number Screening. A service that blocks certain types of calls and allows subscribers to identify who can and cannot charge a call to their phone. This is primarily used to block third-party calls and collect calls.


Carrier Access Code. Five to seven-digit number that identifies which interexchange carrier a call will use. Subscribers can dial these digits with each long distance call, or can presubscribe to a particular carrier and let the digital switch software add the CAC

Cascading Notification
An option for callers in wireless communication. On a cascading operation, a call automatically goes out to find you. It may start by calling your home phone number, calling your cellular phone, calling your office number, etc. The notification cycle stops when you answer the call. Maximum of 15 phones

Custom Calling Features. The basic custom calling features now available to subscribers include Call Waiting, Call Forwarding, Abbreviated Dialing, Three-Way Calling, etc. These revenue-generating features are available from the central office, and do not require any special customer premises equipment.

Code Division Multiple Access. A digital wireless spread-spectrum transmission method that allows multiple users to share the same radio frequency spectrum, by assigning each active user a unique code. Signal intelligence is multiplexed with a random code and spread over a wide range of frequencies thereby increasing capacity.

In radio systems, the geographical region covered by a single cellular or PCS base station. A CGSA (Cellular Geographic Service area) is typically subdivided into clusters where each cell uses a different set of frequencies to minimize interference.

Cell Site
A base station in a cellular system which supports all cellular users within the particular cell; consists of a transmitter, receivers, controller, antenna system, and data links to the MSC. A transmitter/receiver site where radio links are established between a wireless system and a user terminal.

A networking technology that breaks up geographical areas into clusters of small honeycomb shaped cells. The cellular infrastructure consists of one low-powered output cell site per cell, cellular handsets, and the Mobile Switching Center (MSC) which all exchange information to connect cellular subscribers.

Customer non-renewal after a short-trial period. Loss of customer to another service.

CLASS Features
Custom Local Area Signaling Services. A group of specialized calling features that include Calling Line Information (CLI) to the call destination. examples of CLASS features include Caller ID, Automatic Call Back, Message Waiting, and distinctive ringing and call waiting tones.

Central Office. The building in which telephone companies locate their switching equipment and terminate their circuits. The local central office receives calls from within the local area and either routes them locally or passes them to an interexchange carrier (IXC). On the receiving end, the local central office receives calls that originated in other areas from the IXC

The ability of someone who is not the local phone company to put their equipment in the local phone company’s CO and join their equipment to the phone company’s equipment (for a fee). This is mandated by the PUC. Generally the company is another local or long distance company that is a competitor. The idea of co-location is to save money, give better service, ensure better interconnection and get technical problems solved faster.

An enterprise or organization owned by and operated for the benefit of those using its services

Customer Premise Equipment. The telecommunications equipment on a customer’s premises located behind the interface device.

Charges from 2 or more phones that are collected and billed to a single phone number.

Interference in a communications channel caused by signals present in a nearby channel.

Cordless telephone. Generic term for wireless telephone communication systems evolved from the simple residential or in-building office cordless telephone.


Directory Assistance. The information operator from our phone company.

Dedicated Access Line. Network connection, often leased from a local exchange carrier or competitive access provider, that provides a direct link from a customer to the long distance network. Typical DALs include outbound WATS lines, PBX tie trunks, and foreign exchange lines.

Digital Central office. The physical facility where calls are witched using digital switches (rather then analog) that route both voice and data through the switch in the form of 0/1 binary information. See CO.

Direct inward Dialing. The feature of Centrex systems and large PBXs that allows a caller outside a company to call an internal extension without going through the switchboard.

In telecommunications, in recording or in computing, digital is the use of a binary code to represent information. The signal is reconstructed to what it was identically. Then it is amplified and sent along its way, making digital transmission cleaner than analog. Unlike analog transmission he signal can be reproduced precisely. Implementation will result in substantial increases in capacity (up to 15 times that of analog technology). Digital will virtually eliminate static, the loss/interruption of signal during handoff and failure to get a connection because of congested relays that are common analog problems. The second major benefit is that the electron circuitry to handle digital is getting cheaper and more powerful. PCS uses digital technology.

Disconnect for non-payment of telephone bill.

Direct Outward Dialing. The feature of Centrex systems and large PBXs that allows a caller inside a company to call an external number without going through the switchboard

Digital Subscriber Line. A type of high-speed Internet connection. DSL refers to the technology used between a customer’s premises and the telephone company, enabling more bandwidth (up to 8Mbps), over the already installed copper telephone cables. The telephone lines are transformed into high speed DSL lines by installing special equipment at the CO and a DSL modem or router at your home or business.

Digital Switching office. DSO is where the switch is located and service is started.


Electronic Serial Number. A 32-bit serial number that is hardcoded into a wireless phone by the equipment manufacturer, distinguishing it from any other phone.


The process by which the Mobile Telephone Switching office passes a cellular phone conversation from one radio frequency in one cell to another radio frequency in another cell. The handoff is performed so quickly that users usually never notice.

Home Location Register. The permanent database in a wireless communication network that contains registration and user profile info for the system subscribers


Interim Number Portability. The technology that allows a telephone number to travel with a subscriber from pace to place. Calls will be routed from the previous phone number using remote call forwarding.

Calls across LATA boundaries. Calls that originate in one LATA and terminate in another LATA.

Calls inside a LATA boundary. See LATA

Integrated Services Digital Network. Digital communications network that provides multiple services to a subscriber through a single access point. ISDN supports multiple devices (telephones, computer, and fox machines) on a single line and can have more than one DN assigned to the line. It is possible to have up to eight devices on a single ISDN line. The most unique characteristic of ISDN is that all the devices on a line can use the line at he same time.

Interexchange carrier. Long-distance telephone company such as AT&T, MCI, Sprint.


Local Access and Transport Area. The geographic area that is the domain of the local exchange carrier. Bell Operating Companies are generally precluded from carrying traffic across LATA boundaries.

Local Exchange Carrier. The local phone company that is responsible for delivering calls within a local area. Can be a telephone company affiliate of a Regional Bell Operating Company, or an independent telephone company.

Left in place (for example, telephone hookup from previous user). In establishing a physical address for installing a phone, used to show that the telephone hookup remains from a previous user and does not need to be added.

Lock Code
The lock code locks a cellular telephone to prevent unauthorized use. The lock code is programmed into the Numerical assignment Module (NAM) and is frequently factory set to either 1234 or 00004 initially. The subscriber can change this.

A channel between a customer terminal and a central office.


An individual or business that belongs to a cooperative like CCTC. A member has certain privileges, he essentially is a stockholder in the business and is entitled to a return on his investment (when there is a profit). The cooperative pays capital credits to the members of the Cooperative. Capital credits are like dividends.

Mobile (or car) Phone
The type of cellular phone installed in a car, truck, or van. Three main types of cellular phones are sold today: mobile, transportable, and portable. A mobile unit is attached to the vehicle, draws its power from the vehicles battery, and has a n external antenna.

Metropolitan Service Area. FCC designated market areas which are the basis for cellular service boundaries. In addition, there are Rural Service Area markets.


Non-published directory listing for a phone number. Non -pub refers to a listing that is printed in the telephone directory, but is not given out by the information operator.

Numbering Plan Area. Another name for area code, to identify the area of the country. The three-digit NPA is the first part of every phone number in the North American Numbering Plan. In the number 254-893-2003, the NPA would be 254.

Exchange. A three-digit central office code. To designate to which switch the subscriber is connected In the number 254-893-2003, the NXX would be 893. The last four digits designate the individual subscriber line.


Other Charges and Credits. Any non-recurring charges, such as an installation charge and petty cash.

Optional Calling Plans. Different ways of selling long distance service, usually for monthly service. Basic long distance service packages are differentiated by several key factors: access , pricing and fees. Pricing per minute of long distance service can be based on mileage, geographical area, area code, LATA, or flat rate-with or without term discounts or volume discounts. For example, Select save, True USA, True Reach and Select Saver are calling plans featuring different rates. The subscriber is free to change between calling plans at will.

Off-Premise Extension. When a phone extension is physically located in a different structure than the main phone. Such as an office phone number ringing after hours in the owner’s house.


Physical Address. The county assigned description of a location. When the map is digitized, every location is assigned a map coordinate with a unique physical address.

Personal communications Number: in PCS, a telephone number, which is permanently assigned to a subscriber regardless of the person’s location or service provider. The PCN remains static even if the user changes handsets.

Personal Communications Service. A new, lower-powered, higher-frequency competitive technology to cellular. PCS is expected to be cheaper and to deploy the latest digital technology (unlike cellular phones that use analog technology). The network provides secure digital wireless communications in a high frequency range, around 1900 MHz. It uses small low-powered base stations, light and compact personal communicators. PCS Mobile Switching Centers (MSC), Intelligent Network, and Signaling System 7. Features include voice and data transmission capabilities, enhanced mobile connection, and heightened subscriber capacity as well as services like basic telephone, voice mail, paging and more.

Physical Address
The county assigned description of a location. For city location, can be as obvious as street number and address, but if location is a rural area, may involve map and plot number from county.

Preferred Interstate Carrier (same as CIC) Primary Carrier for interstate long distance calls. This is the default carrier, and determines the call route if the subscriber doesn’t dial a separate access code.

Pilot Number
A 7-digit number that points to multiple phone numbers. This is a function of DMS100 switch for inbound calls only. can be handled in cascading or tandem notification.

Personal Identification Number

The Network of lines and trunks that serve subscribers is called the outside plant or the local loop.

A single point of termination (usually at the customer location. Where there is more than one phone at a physical address, each has a unique post number.

Point of Termination.

Plain Old Telephone Service, a dial tone with no special features.

Public Service Commission. The State agency regulating telephone operations, also known as Public Utilities Commission.


Regional Bell Operating Company. A term for the seven Regional Holding Companies created when AT&T divested the Bell Operating Companies.

Recurring Charges -charges that repeat every month (subscription charges) different from charges that change with use, such as toll charges.

Received on Account.

A mobile station that is operating in a cellular system other than its home system.

Using a cellular phone outside the usual service area-when traveling.

Router (IP)
A device that dispatches messages to their appropriate destinations within or between IP networks.

Rural Service Area. FCC designated rural market area for cellular service.

Rural Utility Services.


Service Order
A request to add, delete or change subscriber line information stored in the Subscriber database.

Features such as Call waiting, Caller ID, Internet services that are provided for the customer by the phone company. What the phone company provides to subscribers for a fee.

The practice of switching a telephone customers long distance supplier without obtaining permission from the customer. A long distance company might do this to get itself some easy revenues.

Spread Spectrum
A technique that spreads a transmitted signal across a wide band of frequencies.

Various areas of responsibility in the cooperative. Each status from entry to completion is tracked by its path from one area or station to the next. for example, data entry, engineering, and billing are stations needed to process a service order.

An individual or business who pays for telephone service from CCTC.


Tandem Notification
An option for callers in wireless communication. On a tandem operation, a call is connected in series. It tells all numbers associated with the account (in all locations) to ring at the same time. Your home phone, office phone cellular phone all rig at the same time and can be answered at any location. Maximum of 8 phones.

Rule and price governing a service. Legal documents filed with PSC (Public Service Commission) statewide.

Third Party Call
Any call charged to a number other than that of the origination and destination party. Such as when a business allows its employees to make business calls from home and charge it to their business extension.


Unlisted phone number. Unlisted umbers are not printed in the telephone directory, but can be given put by the information operator.

Universal Service Order Code used for all tariffed billing, such as AT&T, True Savings (OCPZA), US West MT value calling plan (OBW4X), and local service. To identify call plans and the billing amount associated with each.


Validity Testing
The method by which the entries in the service order are checked for accuracy. After data is entered, it is checked for allowable values for each particular field, as well as combinations of entries and values already existing for the customer. Error Messages and warnings are generated, if necessary. Before the service order can go on to the next station, validity checks are done


An rectangular area that can be sized and moved on your desktop. you enter information into the system by making entries in fields in the onscreen document.

Wireless is communication over the airwaves. Spanning continents and oceans without landlines, wireless communications utilize free space to transmit information–fist forms of wireless communications ere found in early civilizations. Then came the radio, which has served as the basis for modern wireless communications. Today, all wireless communications operate in particular frequency ranges and, therefore, have allotted portions of the spectrum.