If you have a product, you must have its vendor. Internet connections originally were available only in research institutes and universities, where members could avail them for free (the internet connection itself was subsidized by the government). Pretty soon internet connection spread to private business and individuals. The Internet Service Provider, or the ISP, provided the retail customer with this connection. Thus, the ISP is the vendor for internet connection. In other words, Internet service provider (also called Internet access provider) is a business or organization that offers users access to the Internet and related services. Many of the telephone companies have diversified into vending of internet connections.
While some ISPs may provide complete hosting packages apart from internet connectivity, some others merely provide connectivity. Connecitivity may be through dial-up, cable, satellite, ISDN, leased lines, etc. In case of any problem with connectivity, the ISP provides backup support and troubleshooting. The Internet Presence Provider (IPP), on the other hand, provides some value added services, including branding and promotion. The Network Service Provider (NSP) provides connectivity for large volumes through ‘backbone’ support. The ISP can directly sell connectivity to retail customers, or may sell bulk connectivity to Virtual ISPs, who sell it to retail customers and provide backup and troubleshooting, registration and billing support.
As the internet becomes more popular, network density or penetration becomes crucial. The ISPs become the link to provide cheap and efficient connectivity. The larger volumes of data now require broadband services, and that too has led to a rise in the number of ISPs. The presence of so many ISPs might pose a problem of choice; it is always sensible to select the service that fulfils your requirements rather than going for the fastest one. One should also verify if they provide any added service, backup, troubleshooting, etc.
In this section of 01webdirectory, we provide you with a list of ISPs and related resources.