Internet has brought about a revolution like none other in recent times. Other new technologies took a lot longer to go mainstream. Internet did it much faster, although installing the whole technology was much costlier. However, since internet rode piggyback on the computer revolution, the computers became the media of communication. Once you had a computer all you needed was a modem and a service provider who would give access to the internet network. Thus arose the industry of the Internet Service Providers – the essential intermediaries that provide the infrastructure and connectivity to make internet possible.
Internet is no more a institute level network with preinstalled infrastructure and bandwidth. As more and more people join the internet bandwagon, it is essential that infrastructure is provided to the end subscribers for a user-friendly experience. The ISPs fulfill an absolutely important task in this respect.
However, for much of the time cost of connectivity has been high and technology has been low. With time the cost is going down and the technology up. The dial-up mode of connectivity basically allowed copper-wire PSTN telephone network users to connect to the internet through the telephone network. It was slow, cumbersome, costly and low-tech. The need of greater bandwidth was perpetual and the cable internet provided faster internet. Many of these provided always-on connectivity, and some even allowed unlimited download. Today, the world over people are connecting to the internet, and the dial-up and cable networks provide these interface for the vast majority.