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.
Internet services typically provided by ISPs include
Internet transit, domain name registration, web hosting, Usenet
service, and colocation.
Local ISP in Manhattan installing fiber for provisioning Internet
2.1 Access providers
2.2 Mailbox providers
2.3 Hosting ISPs
2.4 Transit ISPs
2.5 Virtual ISPs
2.6 Free ISPs
2.7 Wireless ISP
Law enforcement and intelligence assistance
5 See also
7 External links
Internet was developed as a network between government research
laboratories and participating departments of universities. By the
late 1980s, a process was set in place towards public, commercial use
of the Internet. The remaining restrictions were removed by 1995, 4
years after the introduction of the World Wide Web.
In 1989, the first ISPs 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
On 23 April 2014, the U.S.
Federal Communications Commission
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
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
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.
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
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
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).
Wireless access is another option, including cellular and satellite
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.
Internet hosting services provide email, web-hosting, or online
storage services. Other services include virtual server, cloud
services, or physical server operation.
Tiers 1 and 2 ISP interconnections
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
Internet service provider (WISP) is an
provider with a network based on wireless networking. Technology may
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
Law enforcement and intelligence assistance
Internet service providers in many countries are legally required
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
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
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
Internet traffic in real time.
Computer networking portal
Computer science portal
Content delivery network
Index of Internet-related articles
Internet hosting service
Network service provider
Outline of the Internet
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^ Weisman, Jonathan (24 February 2015). "As Republicans Concede,
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Net neutrality redux: The battle
for an open net continues – The Republican-led FCC is starting to
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^ Fung, Brian (21 November 2017). "FCC plan would give Internet
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^ J.D. Falk, ed. (November 2011). Complaint Feedback Loop Operational
Recommendations. IETF. doi:10.17487/RFC6449. RFC 6449.
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Provider" refers to an organization that accepts, stores, and offers
access to RFC 5322 messages ("email messages") for end users. Such an
organization has typically implemented SMTP RFC 5321 and might provide
access to messages through IMAP RFC 3501, the Post Office Protocol
(POP) RFC 1939, a proprietary interface designed for HTTP RFC 7230, or
a proprietary protocol."
^ a b c Gerson & Ryan A Primer on
Internet Exchange Points for
Policymakers and Non-Engineers Working Paper, August 11, 2012
^ cisco.com Sample Configuration for BGP with Two Different Service
Providers (Multihoming) BGP article
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^ "New KGB Takes
Internet by SORM". Mother Jones. Retrieved 2 February
OECD ISP penetration data
Internet service providers of the United States
Blue Ridge Communications
Cincinnati Bell FiOptics
Cable protection system
Prepay mobile phone
The Telephone Cases
Timeline of communication technology
Undersea telegraph line
Edwin Howard Armstrong
John Logie Baird
Alexander Graham Bell
Jagadish Chandra Bose
Lee de Forest
Erna Schneider Hoover
Charles K. Kao
Alexander Stepanovich Popov
Johann Philipp Reis
Vladimir K. Zworykin
Free-space optical communication
Network switching (circuit
Public Switched Telephone
World Wide Web