An Internet service provider (ISP) is an organization that provides services for accessing, using, or participating in the Internet. Internet service providers may be organized in various forms, such as commercial, community-owned, non-profit, or otherwise privately owned.
The Internet (originally ARPAnet) was developed as a network between government research laboratories and participating departments of universities. Other companies and organizations joined by direct connection to the backbone, or by arrangements through other connected companies, sometime using dialup tools such as UUCP. By the late 1980s, a process was set in place towards public, commercial use of the Internet. The remaining restrictions were removed by 1991, shortly after the introduction of the World Wide Web.
During the 1980s, online service providers such as CompuServe and America On Line (AOL) began to offer limited capabilities to access the Internet, such as e-mail interchange, but full access to the Internet was not readily available to the general public.
In 1989, the first Internet service providers, companies offering the public direct access to the Internet for a monthly fee, were established in Australia and the United States. In Brookline, Massachusetts, The World became the first commercial ISP in the US. Its first customer was served in November 1989. These companies generally offered dial-up connections, using the public telephone network to provide last-mile connections to their customers. The barriers to entry for dial-up ISPs were low and many providers emerged.
However, cable television companies and the telephone carriers already had wired connections to their customers and could offer Internet connections at much higher speeds than dial-up using broadband technology such as cable modems and digital subscriber line (DSL). As a result, these companies often became the dominant ISPs in their service areas, and what was once a highly competitive ISP market became effectively a monopoly or duopoly in countries with a commercial telecommunications market, such as the United States.
On 23 April 2014, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was reported to be considering a new rule that will permit ISPs to offer content providers a faster track to send content, thus reversing their earlier net neutrality position. A possible solution to net neutrality concerns may be municipal broadband, according to Professor Susan Crawford, a legal and technology expert at Harvard Law School. On 15 May 2014, the FCC decided to consider two options regarding Internet services: first, permit fast and slow broadband lanes, thereby compromising net neutrality; and second, reclassify broadband as a telecommunication service, thereby preserving net neutrality. On 10 November 2014, President Barack Obama recommended that the FCC reclassify broadband Internet service as a telecommunications service in order to preserve net neutrality. On 16 January 2015, Republicans presented legislation, in the form of a U.S. Congress H.R. discussion draft bill, that makes concessions to net neutrality but prohibits the FCC from accomplishing the goal or enacting any further regulation affecting Internet service providers. On 31 January 2015, AP News reported that the FCC will present the notion of applying ("with some caveats") Title II (common carrier) of the Communications Act of 1934 to the Internet in a vote expected on 26 February 2015. Adoption of this notion would reclassify Internet service from one of information to one of the telecommunications and, according to Tom Wheeler, chairman of the FCC, ensure net neutrality. The FCC is expected to enforce net neutrality in its vote, according to The New York Times.
On 26 February 2015, the FCC ruled in favor of net neutrality by adopting Title II (common carrier) of the Communications Act of 1934 and Section 706 in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to the Internet. The FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, commented, "This is no more a plan to regulate the Internet than the First Amendment is a plan to regulate free speech. They both stand for the same concept." On 12 March 2015, the FCC released the specific details of the net neutrality rules. On 13 April 2015, the FCC published the final rule on its new "Net Neutrality" regulations. These rules went into effect on 12 June 2015.
Upon becoming FCC chairman in April 2017, Ajit Pai proposed an end to net neutrality, awaiting votes from the commission. On 21 November 2017, Pai announced that a vote will be held by FCC members on 14 December on whether to repeal the policy. On 11 June 2018, the repeal of the FCC's network neutrality rules took effect.
Access provider ISPs provide Internet access, employing a range of technologies to connect users to their network. Available technologies have ranged from computer modems with acoustic couplers to telephone lines, to television cable (CATV), Wi-Fi, and fiber optics.
For users and small businesses, traditional options include copper wires to provide dial-up, DSL, typically asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL), cable modem or Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) (typically basic rate interface). Using fiber-optics to end users is called Fiber To The Home or similar names.
For customers with more demanding requirements (such as medium-to-large businesses, or other ISPs) can use higher-speed DSL (such as single-pair high-speed digital subscriber line), Ethernet, metropolitan Ethernet, gigabit Ethernet, Frame Relay, ISDN Primary Rate Interface, ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) and synchronous optical networking (SONET).
A mailbox provider is an organization that provides services for hosting electronic mail domains with access to storage for mail boxes. It provides email servers to send, receive, accept, and store email for end users or other organizations.
Many mailbox providers are also access providers, while others are not (e.g., Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Outlook.com, AOL Mail, Po box). The definition given in RFC 6650 covers email hosting services, as well as the relevant department of companies, universities, organizations, groups, and individuals that manage their mail servers themselves. The task is typically accomplished by implementing Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) and possibly providing access to messages through Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP), the Post Office Protocol, Webmail, or a proprietary protocol.
Just as their customers pay them for Internet access, ISPs themselves pay upstream ISPs for Internet access. An upstream ISP usually has a larger network than the contracting ISP or is able to provide the contracting ISP with access to parts of the Internet the contracting ISP by itself has no access to.
In the simplest case, a single connection is established to an upstream ISP and is used to transmit data to or from areas of the Internet beyond the home network; this mode of interconnection is often cascaded multiple times until reaching a tier 1 carrier. In reality, the situation is often more complex. ISPs with more than one point of presence (PoP) may have separate connections to an upstream ISP at multiple PoPs, or they may be customers of multiple upstream ISPs and may have connections to each one of them at one or more point of presence. Transit ISPs provide large amounts of bandwidth for connecting hosting ISPs and access ISPs.
A virtual ISP (VISP) is an operation that purchases services from another ISP, sometimes called a wholesale ISP in this context, which allow the VISP's customers to access the Internet using services and infrastructure owned and operated by the wholesale ISP. VISPs resemble mobile virtual network operators and competitive local exchange carriers for voice communications.
Free ISPs are Internet service providers that provide service free of charge. Many free ISPs display advertisements while the user is connected; like commercial television, in a sense they are selling the user's attention to the advertiser. Other free ISPs, sometimes called freenets, are run on a nonprofit basis, usually with volunteer staff.
A wireless Internet service provider (WISP) is an Internet service provider with a network based on wireless networking. Technology may include commonplace Wi-Fi wireless mesh networking, or proprietary equipment designed to operate over open 900 MHz, 2.4 GHz, 4.9, 5.2, 5.4, 5.7, and 5.8 GHz bands or licensed frequencies such as 2.5 GHz (EBS/BRS), 3.65 GHz (NN) and in the UHF band (including the MMDS frequency band) and LMDS.
ISPs may engage in peering, where multiple ISPs interconnect at peering points or Internet exchange points (IXs), allowing routing of data between each network, without charging one another for the data transmitted—data that would otherwise have passed through a third upstream ISP, incurring charges from the upstream ISP.
ISPs requiring no upstream and having only customers (end customers or peer ISPs) are called Tier 1 ISPs.
Network hardware, software and specifications, as well as the expertise of network management personnel are important in ensuring that data follows the most efficient route, and upstream connections work reliably. A tradeoff between cost and efficiency is possible.
Internet service providers in many countries are legally required (e.g., via Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) in the U.S.) to allow law enforcement agencies to monitor some or all of the information transmitted by the ISP, or even store the browsing history of users to allow government access if needed (e.g. via the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 in the United Kingdom). Furthermore, in some countries ISPs are subject to monitoring by intelligence agencies. In the U.S., a controversial National Security Agency program known as PRISM provides for broad monitoring of Internet users traffic and has raised concerns about potential violation of the privacy protections in the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Modern ISPs integrate a wide array of surveillance and packet sniffing equipment into their networks, which then feeds the data to law-enforcement/intelligence networks (such as DCSNet in the United States, or SORM in Russia) allowing monitoring of Internet traffic in real time.
AMIS is an Internet service provider (ISP) in Slovenia, providing nationwide solutions for more than 105.000 domestic and business users with leading electronic communications and entertainment services. Company is situated in Maribor and Ljubljana.AS Starman
Starman was a Estonian cable television and Internet service provider company founded in 1992 and located in Tallinn. Since December 2016, Starman Estonia is wholly owned by Elisa.Starman was the largest cable television company in Estonia and in the Baltic countries.Cable Axion
Cable Axion is a cable television distributor and Internet service provider based at Magog, Quebec.Cablevision (Canada)
Cablevision Du Nord De Québec Inc. (Canada) is a cable television, and Internet service provider in Canada. The company predominantly serves the Abitibi-Témiscamingue area, though it serves other parts of Quebec as well. Cablevision's offices are in Val-d'Or, Quebec.Dery Telecom
DERYtelecom is a cable television distributor Internet service provider and Phone in Canada based in Saguenay, Quebec.Get AS
Get is a Norwegian cable-TV operator and internet service provider. It operates a country-wide network and has the second largest customer base. Until 2006 Get was a part of UPC Broadband. In September 2014, Get was purchased by Danish telecommunications company TDC A/S. In July 2018, Swedish telecom operator Telia Company has agreed to buy GET and TDC Norway for $2.6 billion.Internet in Canada
Canada ranks as the 21st in the world for Internet usage with 31.77 million users as of July 2016 (est). This is 89.8% of the population.KCOM Group
KCOM Group (formerly known as Kingston Communications and latterly KC) is a UK communications and IT services provider. Its headquarters are in the city of Kingston upon Hull, a unitary authority in the ceremonial county of the East Riding of Yorkshire, and it serves local residents and businesses with Internet and telephony services. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
For historical reasons, the Hull area has no BT landlines, and the vast majority of residents and most businesses in Hull, Cottingham and Beverley are served only with telecoms services by KCOM.MSN Dial-up
MSN Dial-up is an Internet service provider operated by Microsoft in the United States and formerly also in several other countries. Originally named The Microsoft Network, it debuted as a proprietary online service on August 24, 1995, to coincide with the release of Windows 95. In 1996 and 1997, a revised web-based version of the ISP was an early experiment at interactive multimedia content on the Internet.
Microsoft renamed the service MSN Internet Access in 1998, focusing its main 'MSN' brand on its web portal of the same name, MSN.com. Today, the company still provides dial-up Internet access under the name 'MSN Dial-up' for those who cannot access high-speed broadband. For several years, MSN was the second largest dial-up ISP in the United States behind longtime leader AOL, but very few people in the U.S. still rely on dial-up.Along with dial-up service, MSN provides its subscribers with an @msn.com email account to use with Outlook.com and security software such as firewall and anti-virus programs. It also offers these extra features as a standalone subscription service for users of broadband Internet access named 'MSN Premium'.NetCologne
NetCologne is a regional telecommunications, cable television and Internet service provider in the Cologne region of Germany. It operates its own copper, coaxial, FTTB and CDMA2000 networks. It serves 518.000 customers and is owned by the city of Cologne. The company has around 900 employees.Omineca Cablevision
Omineca Cablevision was a cable television and internet service provider in Omineca Country, near Prince George, British Columbia. The company served the communities of Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake, and Burns Lake. The company takes its name from Omineca Country and the Omineca Mountains in the area. Omineca offered cable television and internet access in the area. The company was a division of YourLink Inc., and was sold in October 2016 as part of Telus's purchase of YourLink's BC operations.Quebecor Media
Quebecor Media Inc. is a Canadian media company that owns a wide array of media outlets, as well as an internet service provider.
In August 2000, Quebecor Media bought Vidéotron for CA$ 4.9 billion. In May 2001, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approved the transfer of broadcasting licenses from Vidéotron to Quebecor Media. Also in 2001, Quebecor Media bought Groupe TVA.
As of June 2018 Quebecor Inc. fully owns Quebecor Media while CDP Capital d’Amérique Investissements Inc. (a subsidiary of Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, the provincial pension fund) previously owned a 18.9% share. On May 8, 2018, Quebecor announced its intent to buy out the remainder of the Caisse's stake for $1.69 billion in cash and stock.Russian Business Network
The Russian Business Network (commonly abbreviated as RBN) is a multi-faceted cybercrime organization, specializing in and in some cases monopolizing personal identity theft for resale. It is the originator of MPack and an alleged operator of the now defunct Storm botnet.The RBN, which is notorious for its hosting of illegal and dubious businesses, originated as an Internet service provider for child pornography, phishing, spam, and malware distribution physically based in St. Petersburg, Russia. By 2007, it developed partner and affiliate marketing techniques in many countries to provide a method for organized crime to target victims internationally.SingNet
SingNet is a subsidiary internet service provider of SingTel. It is one of four major commercial internet service providers in Singapore (the other three being StarHub, M1 and PacNet).So-net
So-net (ソネット, So-netto) is a Japanese internet service provider operated by Sony Network Communications Inc. (ソニーネットワークコミュニケーションズ株式会社, Sonī Network Communications Kabushiki Gaisha), a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony.TTNET
TTNET A.Ş., operating under the Türk Telekom brand, is the largest Internet service provider in Turkey and has around 7 million subscribers. TTNET is a subsidiary of Türk Telekom Group.
Currently, Mohammad Hariri is Chairman of the Board of Directors and Abdullah Orkun KAYA is the CEO of the TTNET.
In February 2010, TTNET launched a new service called Tivibu, which combines television and cinema. This service allows users to access both television and a library of movies via both mobile phones and computers.In 27 January 2016, Türk Telekom decided to use single brand "Türk Telekom", for its mobile networking, landlines and internet service provider.Telekabel
Telekabel is a cable television operator and Internet Service Provider for Cable Internet in Republic of Macedonia headquartered in Štip, Republic of Macedonia. They also offer Telephony services.
The company relays more than 60 analogue channels, more than 50 digital channels and nine HD channels.TransACT
TransACT is the trading name of TransACT Capital Communications, an Australian telecommunications company based in Canberra which provides broadband internet access, fixed telephony, cable television services, and mobile phone services in Canberra and a subset of these services in Queanbeyan, throughout South-east New South Wales and in Victoria.
In November 2011, TransACT was acquired by iiNet Limited, which in 2015 itself became a subsidiary of TPG. It continues to trade as TransACT. Previously, the company was part-owned by Actew Corporation a 50% joint venture partner in ActewAGL (the main energy and water utility company in the Australian Capital Territory).Wireless Internet service provider
A wireless Internet service provider (WISP) is an Internet service provider with a network based on wireless networking. Technology may include commonplace Wi-Fi wireless mesh networking, or proprietary equipment designed to operate over open 900 MHz, 2.4 GHz, 4.9, 5, 24, and 60 GHz bands or licensed frequencies in the UHF band (including the MMDS frequency band), LMDS, and other bands from 6Ghz to 80Ghz.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released Report and Order, FCC 05-56 in 2005 that revised the FCC’s rules to open the 3650 MHz band for terrestrial wireless broadband operations. On November 14, 2007 the Commission released Public Notice (DA 07-4605) in which the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau announced the start date for licensing and registration process for the 3650-3700 MHz band.As of July 2015, there are over 1,280 fixed wireless broadband providers operating in the US covering 51% of the US population.