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Sharing - A temporary safety mechanism designed to protect customers from the over-or under-estimation of the productivity offset at the initial establishment of the price cap plan. This mechanism would require the utility to refund a portion of its earnings to customers if it achieved a predefined level of success. Signaling System 7 (SS7) - The current international signaling standard for all digital exchanges with integrated services. The SS7 network allows call control and transaction messages from the integrated voice and data network to be transferred on communications paths that are separate from the voice and data connections. It delivers out-of-band signaling that provides fast call setup by means of high-speed, circuit-switched connections and transaction capabilities which deal with remote database interactions. SS7 also plays an integral role in the deployment of ISDN. The SS7 protocol consists of four basic sub-protocols: Message Transfer Protocol (MTP) - Provides functions for basic routing of signaling messages between signaling points. Signaling Connection Control Part (SCCP) - Provides additional routing and management functions for transfer of messages other than call setup between signaling points. Integrated Services Digital Network User Part (ISUP) - Provides for transfer of call setup signaling information between signaling points. Transaction Capabilities Application Part (TCAP) - Provides for transfer of non-circuit related information between signaling points. Slamming - The term used to describe what occurs when a customer's long-distance service is switched from one long-distance company to another company without the 16 customer's permission. Such unauthorized switching violates Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules. Softswitch - As defined by the International Softswitch Consortium, a softswitch (call agent, caller server or media gateway controller) is a device that provides, at a minimum: Intelligence that controls connection services for a media gateway, and/or native IP endpoints. The ability to select processes that can be applied to a call. Routing for a call within the network based on signaling and customer database information. The ability to transfer control of the call to another network element. Management functions such as provisioning, fault, billing, etc. SONET - See Synchronous Optical Network. Special Access Service - A transmission path directly connecting an Interexchange Carrier location in a LATA to an end user premise or another Interexchange Carrier location. Streaming Video - A one-way video transmission over a data network. It is widely used on the Web as well as private intranets to deliver video on demand or a video broadcast. Unlike movie files (MPG, AVI, etc.) that are played after they are downloaded, streaming video is played within a few seconds of requesting it, and the data is not stored permanently in the computer. Subscriber Line Charge (SLC) - A monthly fee paid by telephone subscribers that is used to compensate the local telephone company for part of the cost of installation and maintenance of the telephone wire, poles, and other facilities that link your home to the telephone network. These wires, poles, and other facilities are referred to as the "local loop." The SLC is one component of access charges. Switch - Central Office Switch (or Switch) - The telephone company facility that connects subscribers to each other, locally and long distance. Switched Access - (1) Method to test telecommunications circuits using electromechanical circuitry. (2) Calls transmitted partially on shared or common transport circuits. Used primarily by residential or small business companies using regular home or business lines. Synchronous Optical Network (SONET) - Broadband networking standard in the United States.

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