A company that gives individuals and businesses access to the Internet via phone lines. Many ISPs charge about $20.00 a month for unlimited access via a local phone number or cable.
An Internet service provider offers customers access to the Net by hooking them up via phone and other lines to entry points it sets up. With the spread of the Internet, the number of service providers has been rising rapidly in Japan since around 1995. The figure surged 32.5% in fiscal 2000 to 5,612, according to the Telecommunications Ministry. Internet service providers affiliated with Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. and other companies that possess their own telecom infrastructure are now aggressively cutting prices, making it difficult for firms that do not own their own facilities to make their Net access services competitive. In the U.S., the market is dominated by a handful of companies, including AOL Time Warner Inc., which serves 33 million customers. Many analysts expect a similar situation to develop in Japan because service providers cannot survive the continued drop in fees unless they expand their customer base to a certain level.
A company that provides other companies or individuals with access to, or presence on, the Internet. Most ISPs are also Internet access providers; extra services include help with design, creation and administration of World-Wide Web sites, training, and administration of intranets.