Internet Service Provider (ISP), provider of Internet services. Most telecommunications operators are ISPs. Provides services like internet transit, domain name registration and hosting, dial-up access, leased line access and colocation.


In the first few years of the Twenty-first Century, many ISPs in the United States have been facing challenges. The stock-market for the telecommunications and IT-related industries went down sharply, and many ISPs were forced to go down, restructure itself, sell itself to another company, or merge with others. The slower-than-expected growth of broadband services, key decisions on broadband open access matters all added harshness to the environment in which they have to survive.

Among the affected are for-profit free ISPs, such as NetZero and Juno Online Services, BlueLight; all of these no longer free (mostly non-profit) community networks; major players such as AOL, EarthLink, MindSpring, and AT&T; DSL providers such as Covad, NorthPoint Communications, and Rhythms NetConnections; and a cable broadband ISP Excite at Home.

Other relevant acronyms:

  • IAP (Internet Access Provider)
  • NSP (Network Service Provider)

Other additional services may include:

See also:

Examples of ISPs:

For your daily dose of ISP lore, see the comic strip User Friendly.