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 Learn About Internet Service Providers

An Internet Service Provider (ISP) has purchased computers and lines that connect to the Internet. The ISP is like a wholesaler of Internet connection services. They have purchased a large capacity of bandwidth, like a large pipe that only so many people can use at once. You use a small portion of the ISP's bandwidth to access the Internet. Your computer's modem connects to their computer's modem and from there to other computers on the Internet.

Which Internet Service Provider should I use?

The ISP should have:

  • fast connection (high bandwidth) to the internet - from slowest to fastest is POTS (plain old telephone service), ISDN, DSL, Frame Relay, Cable Modem, Fractional T1, T1, T3.
  • low user to modem ratio - dial in without a busy signal
  • low rates
  • unlimited service - don't pay for each minute you are connected to the Internet
  • a local phone call - not long distance
  • connections at the baud rate for your modem - 14.4 is the slowest, 28.8 is faster, 56.6 is faster, ISDN is even faster, DSL and Cable Modem is even faster.
  • ISDN, DSL, and Cable Modem availability - even if you don't use it now you may want to in the future.
  • 24 hours a day 365 days a year support
  • short response times to questions
  • knowledgeable staff
  • a news service for usenet newsgroups - special interests on over 20,000 topics where people post their messages and receive responses.
  • your own e-mail account for free with a short e-mail name that you choose

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