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Definition: LATA

(Local Access and Transport Area) The geographic region set up to differentiate local and long distance telephone calls within the U.S. Telephone calls between parties within a LATA (intraLATA) are handled by the local telephone companies and are under the jurisdiction of the state's public utility commission. Calls between LATAs are handled by interexchange carriers (IXCs) and are governed by the FCC. See PUC and FCC.

LATAs, LECs and IXCs
The PSTN is made up of local exchange carriers (LECs) and interexchange carriers (IXCs) that are governed by LATA boundaries. Although this illustration shows one LEC within one LATA, state regulations may allow multiple LECs within the same LATA. Note that IXC 2 does not have POPs in LATAs 1 and 2 and must have a reselling agreement with IXC 1 in order to gain access to those areas.