Foreign Exchange
A foreign exchange is any exchange in a circuit-switched telephone system which is outside your local exchange's calling area--this could be another Local Exchange, a National Exchange or an International Exchange.

Your telephone and every telephone near you is connected to one or more switches in the local telephone operations center, sometimes called a 'point of presence' or 'central office'. If you make a telephone call to a phone that is not directly attached to your local telephone operations center, the call must be routed to the exchange serving the phone you are calling (or the fax/modem you're dialing into). Your local exchange must complete the call by opening a connection to another exchange over a trunk line.

This external exchange is referred to as a 'foriegn exchange'. Calls to a foreign exchange are often charged at a higer rate than calls between your phone and other phones directly connected to the same set of call switches.

<- Back to Central Office or Exchanges


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