Local Access and Transport Areas

Local access and transport area is a term introduced with the divestiture agreement in 1984. One of the problems facing the court system was dealing with the long-distance versus local calling areas. It was a revenue sharing concern more than anything else. AT&T forced the issue by demanding that some form of revenue sharing be put in place so that a single LEG would not have the option of handling all calls and cutting out the IECs.

To solve this problem, the agreement was reached that stated the LECs would still maintain a monopoly on local dial tone and local calling. They would be restricted from carrying long-distance traffic, which would fall under the domain of the IECs. However, many states cover very large geographical areas, and calling from one end to another would be considered long distance. The country was broken down into 195 separate bounded areas for local calling (some local tolls are allowed) based on the density of population in the area. This again was a money thing. The interconnection between two LATAs would be done by the IECs.

A whole new set of acronyms emerged as a result of the divestiture agreement; LATA is only one of them. To complicate things even more, there are four types of calling using the LATA concept:

·Intrastate- belongs to the LECs

·Intrastate- belongs to the IECs

·Interstate- belongs to the IECs Interstate- can be either/or, but was originally given to the LEC

The result of this is a very confused public, and sometimes very confusing tariffs. For example, a call from Philadelphia to Los Angeles can be carried on the IEC network for as little as $0.10 per minute, yet a call from Philadelphia to Wilmington can cost as much as $0.40 per minute. The difference here is that the 3000-mile call is regulated on the long-distance basis and FCC jurisdiction. However, the 29-mile call between Philadelphia and Delaware is regulated by BOC tariff and the PUCs. These anomalies will change and are doing so now, but this is the confusion that can crop up when various players are trying to protect their interests.