Although deregulation and competition have existed in the U.S. since 1982, their emergence in other countries is more recent. China and Germany, for example, have opened up their respective telephone markets only within the last few years.

In different countries' respective markets, these competitors can exploit different PSTN market niches. A Greenfield carrier in any country might attempt to offer business customers both voice and data over a highspeed data infrastructure. Meanwhile, a traditional CLEC might attempt to offer high-speed access to both residential customers and businesses over traditional access, such as T1 circuits, as well as new high-bandwidth services, such as DSL.

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