Internet Service Providers (ISPs)

Internet Service Provider (ISP)

An Internet service provider (ISP) is a company who usually has paid fees to be attached to Internet Exchange Providers (IXPs). An ISP can provide services for accessing, utilizing, or participating in the Internet. Like most, your home or business data communication routers connect to the Internet through an ISP. Now many times the ISP is also your local telephone company, but not always, in fact due to the Telecommunications Act of 1996 competition for your communications dollars is still quite robust although it's hard to tell how long that will last as huge telecomms continue to gobble up the littler ones.

Depending on the ISP they can provide you with one or more services like television service, Internet access from your home or business, Internet transit, domain name registration, web hosting, Usenet service, and colocation. In other words they give you connectivity to the rest of the Internet through their network which is ultimately attached to a IXP and additionally offer services that take advantage of and monitizes that connection.

In a home environment ISPs pretty much do all of the work for you. They will install your Internet router, attach your home network to it, and configure all of the necessary settings to get the homeowner up and running with access to the Internet including an all important public "IP address." In a business environment ISPs will provide any wiring necessary up to the Maximum Point of Entry (MPoE) or the company's Main Distribution Facility (MDF). It is up to the company's IT personnel to get their LAN configured to work with the ISP's Internet connection.