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Common carrier

A common carrier is a business that provides transportation of persons or goods over a definite route according to a regular schedule, making its services available to all who choose to employ them. Common carriers generally exist under a different regulatory regime than specialised carriers, are subject to different laws, and sometimes to different treatment in other ways (e.g. taxation).

For example, common carriers generally explicitly have no legal liability for the contents of freight shipped through them.

The term has also come to be used to refer to a telecommunications company that holds itself out to the public for hire to provide communications transmission services. Similarly it is used in relation to power supplies: a common carrier company provides the final transmission link to consumers' homes or businesses, but consumers can buy their gas or electricity from any of a number of supplier companies, all of whom feed power into the common transmission line (see electricity retailing).