internet service provider

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computing: internet: internet service provider (ISP)


An internet service provider (or ISP) is a business which provides (usually for a monthly fee) a connection to the internet to a third party (an individual or organization).

Internet service commonly comes in any of several flavors:

The term "broadband" generally refers to any of the others except wireless, which is usually explicitly called "broadband wireless" to distinguish it from older forms of wireless connection which had much lower bandwidth and typically were limited in the types of data they could carry.

United States

Most broadband internet service in the United States is provided by one of a small number of companies; the laws governing internet service have increasingly been set up to favor the existence of only a single provider within any given area. Major providers include:

EarthLink, RoadRunner, and AOL are handled by Time-Warner Cable in some areas. (AOL is owned by Time Warner; RoadRunner is a division of Time Warner)