Federal Internet Law & Policy
An Educational Project

Industry: ISPs
ISP Trade


ISP & Filters
Wireless ISPs
SPAM Enforcement

"An ISP, or internet service provider, is a company that provides its customers access to the internet and other web services. In addition to maintaining a direct line to the internet, the company usually maintains web servers. By supplying necessary software, a password-protected user account, and a phone number to dial into the internet connection, ISPs offer their customers the capability to browse the web and exchange email with other people. Some ISPs also offer additional services. ISPs can vary in size—some are operated by one individual, while others are large corporations. They may also vary in scope—some only support users in a particular city, while others have regional or national capabilities.

"Almost all ISPs offer email and web browsing capabilities. They also offer varying degrees of user support, usually in the form of an email address or customer support hotline. Most ISPs also offer web hosting capabilities, allowing users to create and maintain personal web pages; and some may even offer the service of developing the pages for you. Many ISPs offer the option of high-speed access through DSL or cable modems, while others may just rely on dial-up connections. As part of normal operation, most ISPs perform backups of email and web files. If the ability to recover email and web files is important to you, check with your ISP to see if they back up the data; it might not be advertised as a service. Additionally, some ISPs may implement firewalls to block some incoming traffic, although you should consider this a supplement to your own security precautions, not a replacement." - US CERT

ISP Related Issues

  • Taxes
  • Access Charges, telecommunications
  • Moratorium condition on notification of commercially available parental controls
  • Moratorium for commercial websites that engages in the business of selling material that is harmful to minors conditioned on such sites utilizing the defenses similar to those articulated in COPA (i.e., use of credit cards and so on).
  • Federal Activity




    Percent of residential customers Percent of nonresidential customers
    AOL 22.9 SoVerNet 14.4
    SoVerNet 11.8 Adelphia Cable 12.8
    Adelphia Cable 11.5 AOL 11.5
    Earthlink 8.4 Earthlink 8.8
    United Online 5.0 Verizon 6.2
    Power Shift Online 4.2 VTel Internet 4.6
    VTel Internet 4.2 Green Mountain Access 4.3
    Verizon 3.8 Vermont Link.Net 3.3
    Green Mountain Access 3.8 2.6
    AT&T 2.3 Lightship 2.6 2.3 Charter 2.3
    Innevi 1.9 Power Shift Online 2.3
    MSN 1.9 Valley Net 2.3
    Kingdom Connection 1.5 Kingdom Connection 1.6
    Charter 1.1 ABS/Telcove 1.6
    GovNet 0.8 United Online 1.6

    Vermont Telecommunications Plan, Sept 2004 p. 2-26

  • StatMarket: AOL still the world's favorite ISP March 14 2002
  • US Census: Internet Service Providers, Web Search Portals, and Data Processing Services: 2002 (Nov. 2004)
  • Online Service Providers 2002: 4394 (Table 2)
  • Online Service Providers 1997: 4165
  • 98. Internet Service Providers: Under the new NAICS codes, SBA has developed a small business size standard for "On-line Information Services," NAICS Code 514191.   According to SBA regulations, a small business under this category is one having annual receipts of $18 million or less.  According to SBA's most recent data, there are a total of 2,829 firms with annual receipts of $9,999,999 or less, and an additional 111 firms with annual receipts of $10,000,000 or more.   Thus, the number of On-line Information Services firms that are small under the SBA's $18 million size standard is between 2,829 and 2,940.  Further, some of these Internet Service Providers (ISPs) might not be independently owned and operated. Consequently, we estimate that there are fewer than 2,940 small entity ISPs that may be affected by the decisions and rules of the present action. -- In Re Appropriate Framework for Broadband Access to the Internet over Wireline Facilities, CC Docket No. 02-33, CC Dockets Nos. 95-20, 98-10, NPRM ¶ 98 (February 15, 2002) (based on 1997 census data)
  • AOL subscriptions swell in U.S., CNews 11/27/01
  • Top ISPs Report, NWFusion 11/23/01
  • Top U.S. ISPs by Subscriber: Q3 2001, ISP Planet11/02/01 (note that in August, ISP-Planet reported that the top 20 ISPs account for 90% of the market where ISP-Planet is in November saying that the top 20 ISPs only account for 60% of the market).
  • Top U.S. ISPs by Subscriber: Q2 2001, ISP Planet 8/17/01
  • Internet Trade Associations

    Confirmed Active Trade Associations

  • American Electronics Association .
  • American Alliance of Service Providers (participated in ISPCON Spring 2007)
  • California ISP Association (participated in ISPCON Spring 2007)
  • Florida Federation of ISP of the Americas . (participated in ISPCON Spring 2007)
  • ITAA .
  • Kentucky ISP Association
  • New Mexico Internet Professionals Association
  • Wireless Internet Service Provider Organization
  • US Internet Industry Association (formerly AOP)
  • United States ISP Association .  (USISPA, along with CIX, went into sleep mode summer of 2001.  The former members of USISPA were disbanded, and went off to form CCI.  CIX reemerged in Jan 2002 using the USISPA name).
  • Washington Bureau for ISP Advocacy (information on website is stale)
  • Wireless ISP Association (participated in ISPCON Spring 2007)
  • Wireless Communications Alliance
  • Wireless Communications Association Alliance
  • Other Known Trade Associations

  • American ISP Association (reported that association closed 2004) 
  • Arizona Internet Access Association (link no longer working as of Nov 2001)
  • Association for Interactive Media . (Merged with the Direct Marketing Association.  October 1998)
  • Association for Online Professionals . (website no longer working)
  • Coalition of Utah Internet Service Providers (website no longer working)
  • Colorado Internet Cooperative Association .
  • Commercial Internet Exchange Association (CIX) (in the summer of 2001, CIX went into sleep mode.  January 2002 CIX reemerged as the USISPA - which has been a former subsidiary of CIX).
  • Connecticut ISP Association (freshest news on its newspage is 4 years old)
  • Electronic Messaging Association (link no longer works)
  • Independent ISPs for America ( Florida ) (information on website is stale)
  • Indiana Community Network Association . (information on website is 4 years old)
  • Information Industry Association . (website no longer works)
  • Interactive Alliance . (information on website is stale)
  • Internet Association of Japan .
  • Internet Providers Association of Iowa . (Last Updated April 14, 1999)
  • Internet Service Providers Business Forum
  • Internet Service Providers' Consortium (ISP/C) (website no longer works).
  • Internet Service Providers Trade Alliance (website no longer works)
  • Mississippi Internet Providers Association
  • Minnesota Internet Service Provider Association (link now leads to a porn site - Nov 2001)
  • New Hampshire ISP Association (information on website is stale)
  • North Carolina Consortium of Internet Service Providers (information on website is stale)
  • Ohio ISP Association (website no longer works)
  • Oregon Internet Service Providers Association . (server unresponsive November 2001)
  • Texas ISP Association . (information on website is stale)
  • Virginia Internet Service Provider Alliance . (website no longer works)
  • Washington ISP Association .
  • Wisconsin ISPs . (website no longer works)
  • World Information Technology and Services Alliance
  • Have WISPs Finally Found Their Voice?ISP Planet 10/15/02
  • USIIA 2002 Internet Policy Forecast, ISP Planet 1/18/02
  • ISPs form lobbying group, CNET 1/17/02
  • ISP Giants Form New Lobbying Group, Wash Tech 1/17/02
  • ISPs form lobbying group, CNET 1/17/02
  • National ISP alliance is formed out of feud Desert News 10/15
  • Asia & Pacific Internet Association (APIA)
  • Asian Pacific Networking Group
  • Asociaci¢n de Usuarios de Internet
  • Australian Internet Industry Association.
  • BroadNet Alliance
  • British Columbia Internet Association.
  • Camara Argentina de Bases de Datos y Servicios en Linea (CABASE)
  • Canadian Association of Internet Providers.
  • European Internet Service Providers Association (EuroISPA)
  • Internet Service Providers Austria
  • Internet Service Providers of the UK (ISPA-UK)
  • Internet Service Providers of South Africa
  • Responsible Internet Service Providers (Canada)
  • Books


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