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OST 140: Internet Communication and Research: Internet

What is an ISP?

An internet service provider, or ISP, is a company or organization that provides a way for someone to connect to the Internet. Some well-known ISPs include America Online (AOL), RoadRunner (TimeWarner Cable), and Verizon DSL.

Different ISPs have different ways of connecting to the Internet, whether it's over a phone line, cable, or wirelessly via a cell phone network. Whatever the connection method, an ISP provides the pipeline that connects your computer (or other device) to the Internet.

Choosing an ISP

Kitten playing with a cable

Photo by Taran Rapersad via flickr. Used under a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.


Choosing the right ISP is important for any person or organization that wants an Internet connection. The links below offer advice and things to consider when selecting an ISP.

Accessing the Internet

Connecting to the Internet

Fingers plugging an ethernet cable into a laptop

Photo by Steve Mueller via flickr. Used under a CC BY 2.0 license.

There is more to connecting a computer to the Internet than just plugging a cable into the wall. Anyone who wants an Internet connection needs to know about the different connection methods (dial-up, broadband, wireless, or something else), different service providers, and what will best meet their needs. The following tutorials and articles can give you a handle on what you need to know to understand and choose Internet services. 

What ISPs can I use?

When choosing an ISP, you may be limited in your options.  A dial-up ISP usually works from anywhere there's a phone line, but is very slow.  Broadband Internet connections, while much faster, are limited to certain service areas.

To see what broadband ISPs serve your area, check the Fixed Broadband Deployment Map via the link below.

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