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LATA (Local Access & Transport Area)

Local Access and Transport Area (LATA) is a term used in the telecommunications industry in the United States, representing a geographical area within which a divested Regional Bell Operating Company (RBOC) is permitted to offer exchange telecommunications and exchange access services.

LATAs were established as part of the breakup of the Bell System in 1984. 

  • Purpose of LATAs: LATAs were created to define the regions in which the RBOCs could provide services, following the divestiture of AT&T's local service divisions. The aim was to encourage competition in long-distance telecommunications.

  • LATA Boundaries: The boundaries of each LATA typically encompass a city, a whole metropolitan area, or an entire region. They are not necessarily aligned with state or area code borders.

  • IntraLATA and InterLATA Services: Calls within a LATA are considered "intraLATA" and can be handled by the local telephone company. Calls that cross LATA boundaries are "interLATA" and are typically handled by long-distance carriers.

LATAs continue to play a role in the regulatory framework of telecommunications in the United States, especially in the context of traditional telephony and the division of markets between local and long-distance service providers.

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