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Pay Phone Glossary

0+ Calls - Call placed by dialing, followed by the area code and telephone number.                

0++ Calls - Call placed by dialing, followed by the area code and telephone number, and calling card number.

0+- Calls - Dial 0, followed by the area code and telephone number, then waiting for the operator.

0- Calls - Calls placed by dialing 0 only, and then waiting for the operator to respond.

1+ Calls - Direct dialed long distance calls, where the caller dials 1, followed by area code and telephone number.

10XXX - Long distance equal access code implemented in nearly all LECs.  Allows the caller to reach the IXC of choice by dialing their three digit code (i.e, MCI is 10222, AT&T is 10288) The caller then dials a 1 or 0 to place the type of call he chooses.

211 Call - Automatically programmed in a payphone-dialing 211 will direct your call to repair.

66 Block - A type of interconnection block with connectors on each side.  Used to interconnect two telecommunications facilities or devices.  (i.e, one side may be used for the CO trucks, while the other side connects to the PBX.)

800 / 888 Number - Special area code reserved for companies and / or residences to use for toll-free inbound calls.

900 / 976 / 540 Numbers - Dial sequences accessing information or conference services on pay-per-call basis.  The first three digits (900,976, or 540) to identify the type of service

AC Powered - A device (i.e. payphone) powered with standard alternating current ( usually 110 volts AC). Compare with line powered.

Access Charge - Cost associated with connecting to a network. Local Exchange Carriers (LECs) collect access charges from both customers and long distance companies.

Access Codes - Special dialing sequences used to access carriers or special TELCO services (i.e, most common 800, 950, and 10XXX.

Access Code - A five (5) digit code that allows you to reach your long distance carrier if the phone you are calling from is PIC'ed to another long distance carrier.

Access System - All necessary equipment, lines, computer controls and signaling required to access a network.

Access Transport Fees - Fees charged by LEC to transport a call from the long distance caller to the IXC POP or from the IXC POP to the called party. One of numerous components processing charges that, when added together, make up a long distance charge.

Access Line - Public telecommunications line that continuously connects an instrument to a switching station.   refer to Public Access Telephone Service (P.A.T.S.)

Acoustic Coupler - A special type of modem that permits a standard telephone headset to attached to a terminal, allowing transmission of data.

Aggregator - Per FCC a person that, in the course of operations, makes telephones available to the public or to transient users of its premises, for interstate telephone calls using a provider of operator services.

Aggregator, "Call" - Aggregators resell long distance services by combining traffic from all of their clients under one master account with an IXC to secure a lower rate -cost- (hopefully savings are passed through to customers).  Usually they will provide telecom equipment in addition to reselling services.  Call aggregators let IXCs handle billing

Aggregator, "Traffic" - Aggregators reselling long distance services by combining traffic from all of their clients under one master account with an IXC to secure a lower rate -cost- (with savings hopefully passed on to customers).  Traffic aggregators will handle their own billing.

Allocation Area (AA) - Designated by the FCC, an AA is used to assign a long distance company to those who do not choose. Allocations are usually based on existing market shares of the equal access carriers in that calling area.

Alternate Operator Services ( AOS ) - Services provided by a specialty firm, in lieu of  LECs or IXCs.  Some AOS companies provide services that may not be available from LEC or IXC, such as billing to commercial credit cards, foreign language operators, store and forward messaging, information services, ad conference calling.

APCC (American Public Communications Council Inc.) -  the National Trade Association of more than 1,800 independent  (non-telephone company) providers of pay telephone equipment and services. APCC's purpose is to promote fair competition and high standards of service in the payphone and public communications market.

ADA  ( American With Disabilities Act ) - Federal law (1991) created to assist public accommodations and public services for individuals with a disability.  Telecommunication companies, payphone operators or other aggregators have modified their equipment sites for compliance.

ANI ii - Widely used technology that sends a two-digit code along with the origination telephone number to the receiving carrier. The transmitted ANI ii codes, hard-wired as part of the switch's generic software, identify as "27" if the call is from a dumb payphone or "07" for a restricted line which includes smart payphone as well as other types of facilities, such as hotel, motel, universities and others.

Answer Detection - Ability of CPE to determine if and when a call has been answered, independently of the public network.  Answer detection is critical internal store and forward devise available as a stand-alone system for connection to PBXs.

Answer Supervision - Network call status signals passed from terminating CO to the originating CO that give the status of a call.  Signals are available only to LECs, IXCs and other switches on the network.  Privately owned devises or CPE must provide their own circuity to determine the status of a call.

Anti-drill plate - A steel plate that is placed between the coin return and the coin box to prevent vandals from easily accessing the coin box. 

Anti-stuffing Device - (refer to "coin return")

Area Code - As part of the North American Numbering Plan, area codes designate a certain area within a state for geographical call routing. The official telecommunications term is NPA or Numbering Plan Area.

Armored Cable - A Stainless steel, spring wound handset cord that resists vandalism (It houses the lanyard of handset).

Authorization Code - Extra digits dialed to identify a customer. Authorization codes are required for services where the calling number cannot be billed, such as in travel services. Many long distance services originate calls in a manner that doesn't allow for automatic number identification, so customer identification by an authorization is required. Additionally, the code acts as a security check against unauthorized use.

AOS  ( Automated Operator Services ) - Capability to automatically complete calls (previously handled by live operators), such as calling card, collect and third party billing calls.  AOS systems are widely used in CO switches.

Automated Operator - This technology eliminates the need for a live operator for certain types of calls. Automated calling cards record the digits to bill from the telephone keypad. Automated collect calls record the caller's name, play it to the person called, and wait for acknowledgment of acceptance.

Automated Number Identification (ANI) - With this technology, the local exchange carrier provides a long distance carrier with the caller's telephone number as a means of identification. No extra digits are necessary for caller identification. 

ANI   ( Automatic Number Identification ) - Provides the originating caller's telephone number to the terminating CO or carrier network equipment.

Backboard - Predrilled wood, metal, fiberglass mounting template used for rapid installs of payphones in most environment.

Band - Service Area. Mileage or a distance measurement range over which various rates are in effect. (refer to Rate Center)

Base Rates - Generally means "Day" rate ( normally 8:00 am to 5:00 pm ) weekdays cost structure upon which "off-peak" periods          ( evenings and night/weekend ) rates are determined by discounting.

BOC  ( Bell Operating Company  ) - Local Bell operating companies formed in the 1984 divestiture of  AT&T.  The twenty-two (22) BOC's operate under the seven (7) Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOC's).

Billed Number Screening - Service provided by carriers that prevent specific call types from being billed to a subscriber's number.  Not always 100% effective, due to the number of interfaces.

Billed Party Preference (BPP) - A technology that enables the caller to select a carrier when placing a call from any telephone. The billed party's primary interexchange carrier for the account is determined when a caller dials calling card digits or places a collect call. The call is then placed over that carrier.

Blocking -  A process that prevents certain types of calls to be made to or from customer premise equipment, keeping users from accessing alternate networks or completing any non-billable calls. This is most common in Operator Services, where the payphone owner blocks access to other networks which would yield no revenue. 

Blue Grommet - Rubber collar that acts as a strain relief between the handset and lanyard.  The "blue" color identifies a handset that complies with hearing aid compatible  ADA standards.

Bong Tone - The distinctive tone generated by CPE or CO equipment to prompt the caller to enter his calling card number

Butt Set - Specialized telephone set used by technicians to check lines, make test calls, diagnose lines, etc.

Cadence Detection - An answer detection technique whereby the devise detects a break in the ring back signal cadence ( 2 seconds of ring back signal, 4 seconds of silence) and assumes that ringing has stopped because the call was answered.

CPA - Acronym for the California Payphone Association.

CAS  ( Call Accounting System ) - A systems attached to a telephone systems to gather information about telephone calls and produce management reports  or transmit data the information to other systems.  There are specialized systems for different industries and applications.

CIC (Carrier Information Code) - The 10XXX or 10XXXX to enable company code dialing to the carrier of choice.

Call Detail - A listing of individuals times, changes, and numbers on a customer's invoice or statement. Some companies provide call detail, and some provide only summary information.

Call Processing System - Multiple call automated processes such as: message delivery, store-and-forward, automated collect, dialed number screening and interconnection with other CPE systems.

Calling Card - Cards issued by LEX's and IXC's that are used by subscribers to route telephone calls to the carrier.

Calling Card Call (CCC) - Calls placed and billed to a local or long distance credit card. The caller can dial the credit card digits or verbally transmit them to an operator-the latter being more expensive. A billing database validates the credit card digits and the PIN (personal identification number), making sure they correspond.

Card Reader - An electronic mechanism that converts information recorded on a credit card's magnetic stripe into data understood by a microprocessor.

Carrier - Originally used for a long distance company that leases the facilities to carry a call, the term i s now used to describe companies that resell other services without leasing facilities. Generally, a carrier is the company who bills for calls under its own name.

Carrier Common Line Charge - A per minute charge paid by a long distance carriers for the maintenance or the local poles and wires necessary to access a customer. 

Casual Calling -  A phrase referring to dialing 10-XXX to place a call over an alternate carrier that may not have the capability to bill the call. This is usually associated with unauthorized call where the carrier receives Automatic Number Identification but lacks a means to direct a bill to a physical customer location.

Central Office  (CO) - The telephone company facility to which subscriber lines are connected.  Also, where centralized switching equipment and outside plant where calls are switched over the local network or onto a long distance carrier's network.

Chute extension - A devise inside of the payphone that guides the coin(s) down into the coin return. ( a.k.a.: "chute return assembly")

CIC  (Carrier Identification Code) - The three (3) digit code used to identify long distance companies. 

Coin Box - Steel box which sits inside the payphone.  It houses the coins until they are collected by payphone operator / owner.  (a.k.a.: "coin receptacle / coin cover")

Coin Line - A central office line which provides call rating, coin supervision , routing and answer detect. Most often used with a dumb payphone.

Coin Mechanism - A mechanical or electronic devise that accepts, rejects, routes and verifies coinage denomination in payphones.

COPT (Coin-Operated Pay Telephone) - The CO line used to connect smart payphones to the public network.  Also called a Public Access Line (PAL) [ refer to PATS ]. Often confused with "coin line", refer to definition.

Coin Relay and Hopper Assembly - The hopper, located inside of payphone, holds coins in a compartment; the relay is used to mechanically "fire" the coins into the coin box or out the coin return ( the electronic signal to fire or not fire is given by the motherboard of the payphone). 

Coin Return - Money that is returned to a user sits at the bottom of the payphone in the coin return. Coins returns have flapped doors to prevent coin return dry and help prevent fraud.  Coin returns also sometimes have cutter bars to prevent fraud (a.k.a. anti-stuffing devise)

Coin Signaling Devise / Unit (Trigger Switch) - A unit inside of a payphone that recognizes nickels, dimes, and quarters and reports them to the motherboard.

Collect Call - For a collect call, the called party accepts the charges. This is done through a live operator or is automated, where the caller's voice is recorded and played to the person called.

Common Carrier - Any long distance company sharing the local network with other long distance companies.

Company-Code Dialing -  Dialing the access code for the carrier you wish to use before you dial the phone number of the person you wish to call.

Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) - A facilities based or a reseller of services provided by the Local Exchange Carrier.

CACD (Commission Advisory and Compliance Division) - of the California Public Utilities Commissions. 

CLC (Competitive Local Carriers) - a common carrier who is issues a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPNC) to provide local exchange telecommunications service for a geographic area specified by such carrier.

COCOT (Customer-Owned, Coin-Operated Telephone) - Privately owned payphones, not belonging to the LEC.

COPT (Customer-Owned Pay Telephone) - Acronym also used to refer to the private payphone operator vendor that own and mange a payphone route (refer COCOT)

Customer Premises Equipment - Equipment on the customer's premises that is leased from the telephone company or owned by the customer. (Also known as customer provided equipment.)

Debit Card - A card that automatically deducts charges from you checking or other established account. There is no credit involved with using a debit card. When you use the debit card, funds are transferred from you established account to the account of the supplier. 

Demarc - The demarcation point between the wiring that you local telephone company and the wiring you install to connect you own telephone.

Deregulation - Changes ordered by state and federal regulators and the courts to introduce competition into the telecommunications industry.

Dial-Around - When using a payphone the customer "dials around" a PIC'ed carrier by using an access code.

Dialer - A device that automatically dials pre-programmed numbers to complete a call or to gain access to a network. Dialers are used by long distance resellers and other carriers who whish to capture intraLATA traffic. When a dialer hears a 1 before a number, it pulses access numbers and authorization codes. While pulsing the access codes, the dialer stores the digits being dialed. It the releases the called called digits to the switch for screening. 

DDD (Direct Distance Dial) - Any long distance carrier's basic you-dial-it long distance service, without the use of an operator.

Divestiture - The landmark event in the telecommunications industry, divesture occurred when AT&T divested itself of its local service operations on January 1, 1984. At this time, seven Regional Holding Companies (RHCs) were formed to won and operate the 22 local Bell Operating Companies. AT&T retained the long distance service and the equipment manufacturing unit. The Divestiture decree, called the Modified Final Judgment, set the framework for the future of the entire industry.

Domestic Calling - Calls originating and terminating within the United States mainland, Alaska and Hawaii. Call Originating domestically and terminating in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are also included.

DTMF (Dual-Tone Multifrequency) - Tones generated by modern telephones to signal CO's and communicate with a wide variety of devises.  Each key on the keypad causes two discrete tones to be generated.  (Touch-Tone, an AT&T trademark now in common usage)

Dumb Phone - A telephone with no internal logic (motherboard) that requires that it must be connected to a PBX or CO switch to function.

ESS  (Electronic Switching System) - Common switching system used in most modern central offices (CO's).  Usually refers to the AT&T #5 ESS, although also used in a generic manner.

End Office - The CO to which a subscriber is connected.

Enhanced Services - Peripheral or value-added services linked to a base network or service.  i.e.) message forwarding, voice mail etc.

Equal Access - Policy through which local telephone companies must provide network facilities that are equal in quality, type, and price to all long-distance companies.

Exchange - A group of area codes and prefixes which make up a local calling area.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - Established by the Communications Act of 1934 and part of the Executive Branch, this federal agency is responsible for regulating interstate telecommunications, television and radio. The FCC is directly responsible for overseeing AT&T and the Regional Holding Companies.

Fee-Based Services - Services which offer a reduced per minute charge in exchange  for monthly service fee.

Fiber Optics - The concept or method of using a laser to transmit infrared and visible light frequencies through a low-gloss glass fiber. The most economical means of transporting a call.

Flat Rate - Local service for which customers pay a regular monthly charge for unlimited calls within a local area.

Flex ANI - A switch software feature which enables the transmission of additional coding digits with a call that can identify calls as coming from a payphone. Flex ANI codes are generated from the end office and are out-pulsed with the call.

Gateway - Entry point or connection to a system or network (i.e. calling card validation services, are companies approved to attach to the public switched network common channel (SS7) and provide special services.  Individual companies needing such services cannot directly access the common channel (SS7) and must go through a gateway

Grace Period - Amount of time subtracted from a call's duration, to account for inaccuracies in timing of calls ( used by hotels, etc.)

Ground Start - A method to signal the CO that the calling party has gone off-hook. A telephone line can either ground start or loop start.

Ground - Reference point  selected to represent zero voltage levels or to serve as the common electrical return path for all circuitry within a system.

Hand Set - The part of the telephone unit that contains the receiver and the microphone.

Hardwired - Two (2) pieces of equipment communicate with one another via a dedicated circuit or through a wire to which both are directly connected.

Hearing Aid Compatible - Payphone handsets that can be used with inductively coupled hearing aid devises.  Identified by "blue" grommet.

Holdback - The percentage of the net revenue generated, which is held by the operator service provider (OSP) for uncollectibles and fraud.

Hook Flash - Brief interruption in a call to signal the CO for special features (i.e. call waiting or call transfer)

IRD - The Implemented Rate Design decision 94-09-065 was issued September, 1994. This decision provided for intraLATA toll competition effective January 1, 1995.

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) - New architecture for the public switched network, based on digital technology, from the CO switches to the subscriber telephones.  Provides faster switching due to out-of-band control signaling and increased user options.

IXC (Interexchange Carrier) - A common carrier that only carries traffic between Telco and does not offer direct subscriber connections.  The accurate name for long distance companies ( i.e. MCI,  AT&T, Sprint, etc. are IXC's)

Independent Telephone Company - Any of over 1,400 local telephone companies that serves a local area not covered by Bell Operating Companies.. Each has a unique sophistication and service offering. The best know are United Telecom, GTE and Rochester Telephone.

Inside Wire - Wiring in a building that connects phone jacks to outside phone links; it is the customer's responsibility to maintain and repair inside wire.

Interexchange Carrier (IXC) - A common carrier for handling traffic between LATA's. Although a carrier may carry intraLATA calls, the term interexchange carrier us usually associated with interLATA calls.

Interface - Shared boundary defined by common physical and electrical interconnection characteristics.

InterLATA Calling - Calls from one LATA to another.

International Calling - Calls originating in the U.S. and terminating in foreign Countries, including Canada and Mexico. Calls from the U.S. to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are considered domestic calling.

International Direct Distance Dialing (IDD) - The dialing pattern by which International calls are made. The Pattern included the country code, city code and the local telephone number.

Interstate Calling - Calls from one state to another, regulated by the FCC and considered very competitive. 

IntraLATA Calling - Calls made between two points within a single LATA.

Intrastate Calling - Calls made between two points within a state, and governed by appropriated state agency, usually a Public Service Commission. State rules concerning intrastate calls differ from allowing no competition to permitting limited competition, to having no regulation at all.

Keypad Assembly - The keypad is mounted in the unit dial.  Its function is to create DTMF signaling from the phone to the CO.  The CO is reached because the keypad "breaks" the dial tone to call the CO.  ( a.k.a.  touch call unit )

Lanyard - The reinforced steel running through the armored cable of a handset.  It securely connects the handset to the payphone case.

Letter of Agency (LOA) - Legal authority from  subscriber to a third party allowing them to act on the third party's behalf regarding matters involving the LEC and / or IXC's.

Line Circuit - Subscriber line interface in the CO switch.

Line Information Database (LIDB) - The billing number validation database developed by the BOCs.

Line Powered - Telephone equipment that is powered solely by the CO talk battery supplied from a Co as in a standard phone line.

Line Speed - Maximum transmission capacity of a line, expressed in bits per second or baud

Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) - Computer driven alphanumeric display used on some telephones to display dialed numbers and other dialing instructions and information.

Local Access and Transport Area (LATA) - Any area where a local exchange carrier provides local and intraLATA service, and access to interexchange carriers for interLATA service. The Department of Justice creates LATAs at Divestiture in order to "even-out" the local calling areas served by the AT&T monopoly were not designated as LATAs, but are usually included in LATA lists.

Local Area Network (LAN) - Networks make sharing of data and equipment resources possible by connecting computers and other data devices to a single host. LANs can be very economical and efficient in a multi-user environment.

Local Exchange Carrier (LEC) - A company owning and operating the lines and equipment that provide local service to an area. The local exchange carrier could be one of 1,400 companies that provide local services, including the Bell Operating Companies, GTE, United Telephone of Rochester Telephone. State agencies regulate local exchange carriers very closely by monitoring revenues, costs, quality standards and every other aspect of their business. The local exchange carrier maintains the local network for the use of the customer, and for the use of the long distance carrier to access the customer.

Local Loop - The physical wiring that runs from the subscriber's telephone to the telephone company's central office.

Local Number Portability (LNP) - The ability of an end user to retain its telephone number when the end-user changes LECs while remaining in the same physical location.

Long Distance Switching (LDS) - A technology which receives information fro a local exchange carrier and selects a terminating route based on that information. Switching equipment makes decisions from screening digits and continuous monitoring of available circuits.

Loop Start - With loop start, you "start" (seize) a phone line by bridging through both wires of your telephone line.

Lower Housing - Bottom half of the casing for a payphone.  It contains the coin mechanism, coin signaling unit, coin relay & hopper and coin return

Measured Service - Network service that is billed by the time and/or distance involved in setting up and maintaining service.

Message Delivery - If a call is not completed; some carriers, OSP's and AOS providers are offering a service that allows the caller to record a message that will then be delivered automatically, at a later time, to the called party usually for a set price.

Message Detail Recording (MDR) - A technology where information on each call is recorded. This includes billing information, the calling and called numbers and call duration.

Message Telecommunications Service (MTS)- A pricing mechanism used for the pricing of toll calls.

Minimum Average Time Requirement (MATR) - With this method of billing a minimum duration is billed regardless of whether the call actually lasts that long. Signaling and distance carriers require the average  duration to be a minimum amount, and bill that amount if the actual average is below that minimum.

Minimum Point of Entry (MPOE) - The demarc will be placed for PSP pay telephones, usually located where existing telephone services enters into a building and or location.

Modem - A devise which converts serial digital data from a transmitting terminal to s signal suitable for transmission over a telephone channel, and then reconverts the signal to serial digital data for the receiving terminal.

Modular Plug - A series of connecting devises adopted by the FCC as the standard interface between telephone and data equipment and the public network.  Most common are the RJ-11 (single line ) and the RJ-31 (series line) units.

Motherboard - Primary circuit board. Add-on or daughterboards are then attached to or plugged into the motherboard to provide additional capabilities.

Multiplexer (MUX) - For the purpose of transmitting simultaneous conversations over the same circuit, this devise connects several lines or facilities into a single pattern.

Noise - Any signal that produces undesirable sound on a communication channel.  Major sources include thermal, microwave fading, electrical interface, cross talk, and electrical-mechanical impulses.

Non-sent Paid - Calls made  as third party billings, with a Calling Card, or as reversed charges.

North American Dialing Plan (NADP) - A numbering system that manages numbering requirements. The numbering plan included, among other things, an area code (NPA), an exchange code (NXX), and a station code (XXXX), to form a ten-digit telephone number. While NADP is used in North America where it is administered by Bellcore, other countries use their own methods for identifying customers and routing calls. 

Numbering Plan Area (NPA) - The area code portion of a telephone number.

OANAD - Acronym for  Open Access Network Architecture Development.

Off-Hook - the receiver is lifted off the cradle, completing a connection.

On-Hook - the action of placing the receiver on the cradle, breaking the connection.

Operator Assisted Calling - Any call where an operator, live or automated, is necessary to manage call connection and billing. To insure proper billing, collect, third party billed, and person to person are usually operator assisted. Credit card calls where the customer dials without an operator are classified under the term Operator Services. This is due to the additional charges and not operator assistance.

Operator Services Provider (OSP) - A long distance carrier that provides live or automated operators to assist callers with placing certain calls. Most regulatory agencies classify operator services into two types: traditional operator service providers and alternative operator service providers. 

Option Calling Plan - This billing option for regular long distance has the potential to reduce cost through a fixed monthly fee in exchange for reduced per minute changes. There is a break even point for analysis of these services.

PAL - Acronym for Public Access Line, to be used with a payphone.

Part 68 Requirements - Specifications established by the FCC as the minimum acceptable protection communications equipment must provide the telephone network (refer to registration number).

Payphone Operator - An individual or company (private or public) that own payphones.

Payphone Slug - A worthless metal disk used by a payphone customer to attempt to defraud the payphone.

Pay Station Service Charge (PSSC) - Implemented pursuant to commission decision 90-06-018, dated June 6, 1990, for the pay telephone investigation (I) 88-04-029. The PSSC was applicable to non-coin intraLATA calls placed from a pay telephone. The PSSC was designed to require end-users to compensate payphone providers for the use of their equipment  to complete non-sent paid intraLATA calls.

Pedestal - Payphone installation equipment  used when the payphone is freestanding

Permissive Dialing - In the introduction of a new area code, permissive dialing refers to the temporarily use of both original and new area code during a specific period of time.

Person-to-Person - An operator-assisted call in which the caller specifies a particular person, extension, etc. to speak with. (The highest cost of any long distance service offered.)

Point of Presence (POP) - The location where LECs connect with an IXC.

Port - The access point in a computer or switching system where the system is capable of exchanging data with external devises.

Pound Sign (#) Redial - A commonly used feature offered by Telco's and AOS that allow the caller to make subsequent calls, without having to reenter their calling card number, by depressing the "#" key at the conclusion of a calling card initiated call.

Preferred Inter-Exchange Carrier (PIC) - The IXC pre-subscribed to a subscriber's telephone line.  Common usage is to say. . ." The line is PIC'ed to a carrier." (refer to pre-subscription)

Prefix - Digits 4 through 6 of the telephone number. The prefix is also referred to as the NXX, a reference to its dialing format. A prefix is also called a CO code.

Prepaid Cards - A prepaid card is created with a certain dollar amount (example $10.00).  The purchaser buys the card for $10.00 and when he/she makes a purchase, the amount of the purchase is deducted, and soon, until the card has no value.  There are three (3) types of technology used in prepaid cards (i.) magnetic stripe (ii.) optical stripe (iii.) smart cards. (NOTE: Often incorrectly referred to as debit cards.)

Pre-subscription - A local telephone company service that encourages each subscriber to select one long-distance carrier to use without having to dial a multiple digit access code.

Primary Inter-Exchange Carrier (PIC)- a term used to identify the long distance carrier selected by an end-user to carry  normally dialed 1+ calls. When an end-user selects a carrier from a ballot, he/she is said to have subscribed or pre-subscribed to a service. The PIC will then receive all interLATA calls dialed on a 1+ basis.

Private Branch Exchange (PBX) - A telephone switching system usually located on the premises of a business. PBX encompasses a wide variety of equipment that can provide intra-premises telephone service as well as access to public telephone networks. 

Proprietary Card - A calling card ( i.e. AT&T, MCI, SPRINT, etc.) that can only be billed by the issuer.

Public Access Telephone Service (PATS) - The CO line used to connect smart payphones to the public network.

Public Service Commission (PSC) - The state body that regulates and monitor the services of common carriers within a state.

Public Utilities Commission (PUC) - The state regulatory agency which regulates a state's utilities, including intrastate telecommunications. Each state has its own PUC.

Rate or Rating - The process of calculating the price of a call by the appropriate rate method for teh particular customer. Rating increments, such as whole minute or six second increments, vary. The call may be rated with discounts, and it may also be rated by time of day, by mileage, or as a flat rate service.

Rate Center - Specific geographic point used to determine mileage.  Each location in the US is assigned to a specific point, a Rate Center, usually  is a central point  in a specific geographic area.

Rate Period - Generally refers to the day, evening and night periods when the rate is affected. Most time of day sensitive services use a standard pattern where daytime is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday; evening is 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday through Friday; and nights is 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. Monday through Friday, 11 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and all day Saturday.

Rate Table - A table of area codes and exchanges that determines rate for calls, taking into account certain variable such (i.) geography (ii.) time of day (iii.) and , other discounts.  Rate tables for AOS systems may also include other information, such as codes to indicate the relationship of a called location to the originating telephone or system (i.e. interLATA or intraLATA) or billable exchange or non-billable exchange.

Regional Bell Operating Company (RBOC) - .One of seven companies formed to own and manage a portion of the 22 Bell Operating Companies (BOCs). Geographical boundaries for the companies were set in areas almost equal in the number of local access lines. At divestiture, these seven companies received all but 23 percent of AT&T assets.

Registration - A procedure required by the FCC to certify that a manufacturer's equipment meets certain standards for connection to the public switched network.

Registration Number - Approval given to manufacturers of telephone equipment to certify that a particular devise passes the tests defined in Part 68 of the FCC Rules.

Reseller - A carrier that provides customers with customer service and billing. Being non-facility. Due to large volumes, reseller connects customers to another carrier's facility. Due to large volumes, reseller bill customers at rates below what the underlying carrier offer to low volume users.

Rejection Assembly & Linkage Arm - The assembly inside a payphone that has a rejection lever that works with the linkage assembly in pressing against the side of the coin mechanism to push open its hinged side.  This allows stuck coins to fall through to the coin return.

Remote Access - Ability to place a call to a modem connected to a CPE system and then communicate with it for the purpose of collecting data: i.e billing records, sending information such as updates or upgrades for rate tables and software, or running diagnostics.

Revenue Sharing - Business arrangement wherein the payphone owner pays a percentage of the revenue from the payphone to the site location owner.

Reverse Battery - Signal provided by a CO indicating that some event has taken place (i.e. telephone is answered). Represented as the momentary reversal of tip and ring connections.

Ring Signal Tone - The signal tone produced by the terminating CO to ring the called party's telephone.  Typically 105 volts AC, 20Hz, two seconds on, four seconds off.  This signal tone is not heard by the calling party ( refer to ring back tone)

Ringer Equivalence Number (REN) - The measure of the electric resistance that a phone devise places across a CO line, in accordance with FCC Part 68 specifications.  ( NOTE: This number is obtained from the manufacturer and is required on line order applications to obtain a new payphone line. )

Route Management Software - Software system, generally IBM -compatible, that monitors repair, collection, fraud, and non-sent paid calls.  This system allows the payphone route owner to better manage their business.

Security Stud - Cylindrical shaped metal finger that holds the door to the coin box open until the box is removed for collection.

Sent-Paid - Calls charged to the originating number collected as coins in the payphone

Sidetone - Sound picked up by the speaker's own telephone transmitter and reproduced in his/her receiver (i.e. the speaker's own voice). If sidetone is too loud, it causes the speaker to talk more softly, which reduces the sound level for the listener.

Signaling System 7 (SS&) - The designs efficient signaling method available, SS7 uses a single channel to carry signals for multiple circuits.

Single Slot - Refers to the current standard for coin phone construction, which utilizes one slot for the deposit of all acceptable coins.

Slamming - ILLEGAL process of changing the pre-subscribed carrier designation on a telephone line without the permission of the subscriber.

Smart Card - One of the three (3) types of prepaid calling cards used in payphones. The smart card is a  Micro chip based stored value card.  Unlike the magnetic strip pre paid calling cards, the smart card has a stored value for use with payphones with compatible equipment. It contains an integrated chip on which one can store financial records, travel records, customer information, etc.

Smart Phone - Telephones with internal processors that replicate CO functions to enable them to process a variety of call types without the assistance of the CO.

Special Information Tones (SIT) - A three-tone sequence preceding a telco interrupt message, i.e., "The number you have dialed is no longer in service, please hang up and try again."

Speed Dialing - Allows users to call specific numbers by depressing a single, preprogrammed key, or dialing a special shorter number, such as #1 rather than the full telephone number.

Splashing - Transfer of a call from one OSP to another OSP. Splashing can be a problem if the OSP's are located at a distance or direction from each other that increase the cost of the call.  Another problem occurs if the receiving OSP can not determine the originating point of the call and cannot accurately bill the call.

Station Message Detail Reporting (SMDR) - System feature that produces a data record for each call processed by the system.  The SMDR record usually includes fields for time, date, call duration, station number and destination number.  (SMDR record has a number of uses to include billing, reporting and traffic analysis.)

Station Protector - Devise that short circuits harmful voltages to ground in the event of lighting strikes, etc. on the phone line.

Store and Forward - Process used by Smart Phones and call processing systems wherein the unit simulates a CO in processing calling cards, collect, and third party billing calls.  The unit stores the billing information for later retrieval and then dials and completes the call as a direct-dial call.

Supply House - Regional or national distributors and supplier that stocks replacement parts for a specific and particular industry.

Switch - A devise for connecting a telephone to another telephone connected to the same devise or a telephone to another line to make or receive a call.  This equipment is found in COs and PBXs.

Switching System - The designs or make up of switch locations, circuit quantities, access types and everything necessary to originate and terminate a call.

T-Wrench - Special wrench used to open the upper and lower housing of payphones

TariffAn official document describing a service, it rule and regulations, and its rate information. A tariff is filled with a federal or state agency for approval to offer certain services rates specified in the tariff.

TELCO - A local operating telephone company

Telecommunications Devise for the Deaf (TDD) - Device that allows the deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired to make telephone calls.  Essentially a TDD is a word processor with a modem. (a.k.a. text telephones)

Third Party Call - Any telephone call charged to a number other than that of the destination

Three-Way Calling - Capability to add a third party ( from another location ) to a two-party call.

Time and Charges - When placing a long distance call, you may ask an operator to call you back with the length and cost of your conversation.

Toll Fraud - Any fraudulent action taken by a caller to avoid paying charges for a call, such as using another's calling card number, using stolen cards, or "hacking" into a PBX or other CPE and placing calls on outbound lines.

Touch Tone - A registered trademark of AT&T for DTMF signaling. Also used in a generic sense.

Traffic - Telecommunications service usage measured by calls or minutes. It represents the amount of usage compared to the capacity of a facility..

Trunk - A telephone line that connects a CO to CPE such as a PBX

Twisted Pair Cable - Two wires usually loosely spun around each other to help cancel out any induced noise.

Underwriters Laboratory (UL) - A non-governmental organization established to test electrical and electronic equipment for compliance with national fire and safety codes.

Upper Housing - The upper half of the casing for a payphone.  It usually houses the rejection assembly and linkage arm, the handset, and the keypad assembly.

Usage - The application of a network facility, measured by minute, by the call, or by the hour.

Validation - Process of verifying that a calling card or credit card account is valid and thus it is OK to process a call to be billed to that account.

Vault Door - The door that sits in front of the coin box, designed to prevent vandalism.

Vendor - In the telecommunications industry  this title identifies an individual or entity who or which provides private customer owned pay telephones to location owners or agents. (Another name for an independent payphone provider.)

Wink - An instantaneous "no voltage" condition as measured across a CO loop that indicates that dial tone is about to be supplied to the circuit.


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