Internet service provider

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An internet service provider (ISP) is a company who provides customers with access to the World Wide Web. There are many varieties of internet service providers, some focusing on consumers, businesses (small, mid cap, large), government organizations, non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and/or other ISPs. ISPs may offer access via DSL, cable modem, dialup, fiber optic network, cellular, satellite, or power line communications among others. ISPs need a connection to the Internet trunk line in order to provide their customers with internet access. ISPs connected directly to the trunk line are considered tier 1 providers. If an ISP is not itself a tier 1 provider, then it must lease connections through another provider (which does have a connection to the trunk line) to connect to outside networks. Most of the tier 1 providers are telephone companies. The tier 1 ISPs in the US are:

  • AT&T
  • Verizon
  • Sprint (Softbank Broadband)
  • CenturyLink (owned by Qwest Communications)
  • Level 3 Communications
  • Verio (owned by NTT Communications)
  • Cogent Communications.


See also