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An incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) is any U.S. telephone organization that was providing local service at the time the U.S. Telecommunications Act was enacted in 1996.These organizations opened regulatory barriers to entry in the telecommunications field. ILECs included GTE Corp. and the former Bell companies (known as the "Baby Bells"), which were formed when the American Telephone Telegraph Company (now ATT) was broken up in 1983.
An incumbent local exchange carrier is a term used to refer to local U.S. telephone companies. These independent telephone companies provided local telephone exchange services in specified geographical locations.
In Canada, ILEC refers to the country's original telephone companies such as Telus, Bell Canada Enterprises, Manitoba Telephone Systems and Aliant.
ILECs compete with competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs).These exchangew carriers were provided access to infrastructure previously reserved for ILECs the Telecommunications Act of 1996.