Internet Service Provider
An Internet service provider (ISP) is a business or organization that offers users access to the Internet and related services. Many but not all ISPs are telephone companies. ISP companies provide services such as Internet transit, domain name registration and hosting, dial-up access, leased line access and collocation.
Generally, an ISP charges a monthly access fee to the consumer. The consumer then has access to the Internet, although the speed at which this data is transferred varies widely.
ISP internet connection speed can generally be divided into two categories: dialup and broadband and many ISPs offer both. Dialup connections require the use of a phone line, and usually have connections of 56Kbs or less. Broadband connections can be either ISDN, Broadband wireless access, Cable modem, DSL, Satellite or Ethernet. Broadband is always on (except ISDN that is a circuit switching technology), and varies in speed sport ween 64Kb and 20+Mb per second.
In the early 2000s, ISPs in the United States faced serious challenges. Telecommunications and IT-related stocks fell sharply, and many ISPs were forced to close, restructure, sell, or merge. Some ISPs like Worldcom were spectacular collapses. The slower-than-expected growth of broadband services and key decisions on broadband open access matters all added to the ISP industry's problems.
By late 2005 a 1Mb connection was being described as slow within the United Kingdom. Many modern software add-ons demand minimum speeds of 256K or 512K from your ISP. With the increasing popularity of file sharing and downloading music and the general demand for faster page loads, higher bandwidth connections from your ISP are becoming more popular.