Customer Premises Equipment

CPE is all the telecommunications equipment operating on a customer's premises to originate, route or terminate telecommunications over the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). CPE includes all of the following: telephones, fax machines, modems, PBXs, TTYs, voice processing equipment, key systems, and video processing equipment.

Prior to the Telecommunications Act of 1996, carriers were not allowed to be involved in the manufacturing, marketing, and sales of CPE. In order to increase competition, Congress opened up the telecommunications markets. Now companies like AT&T and the Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOC) can sell total solutions for wide area networks (WANs) by providing customers with on-site equipment, local services, and long-distance services, provided they meet certain provisions of the law.