Internet Service Provider, ISP, is an organisation whose task is to provide internet service. Internet service includes internet access at home, office and when mobile. Other internet services include web site hosting, email set up and management, file transfer protocols (ftp), cloud computing, virtual machines and lease of physical servers.
ISPs can be categorised into four areas: Access (AISP), Hosting (HISP), Transit (TISP) and Virtual (VISP).
AISP provide clients, individuals and businesses, with internet access be it through the telephone wire, satellite, cable or mobile phone networks.
HISP provide professional, secure, robust and dedicated internet services such as web hosting, email, ftp, cloud computing and server leasing services to individuals and businesses.
TISP do not deal directly with individuals or businesses but provide internet access to AISP and HISP.
VISP purchase service from wholesale ISP and sell it on to their own retail customers.
Choosing the right ISP for yourself
When deciding on the provider for yourself, there are a number of personal circumstances you need to consider before you can make the right decision. Amongst these are:
Usage. You need to classify yourself in terms of the usage you will be making of the internet. Lower usage will naturally lead to lower bills. You may be a light, medium or a heavy user according to the following criteria:
Light users are generally those who are online infrequently. For instance they would make use of email and web browsing for about an hour a day. Their monthly usage would come under 5 GigaByte (GB) a month.
Medium users are generally those who use online services frequently. These users also use other provisions such as video streaming, social networking, multi player gaming and skype which are bandwidth heavy. Users in this group will generally require bandwidth of 30GB or an unlimited bandwidth service.
Heavy users are generally those who use online services constantly. Home workers who conduct their business online would fall into this group. The bandwidth requirement for this group would be 50GB+. An unlimited package would be the most suitable choice.
Bundling. You may be moving house or need to change your telephone company. If your ISP can provide the telephone access you need, then bundling services from the same company often works out cheaper.
Reputation. Refer to at least one comparison website to see how current and past customers found their experiences dealing with different companies. It is often cheaper in the long run, especially if you are running an online business, to pay a little extra for a reliable service than a cheaper service that is unreliable.
Convenience. If the company that is supplying telephone or television service to you is also able to provide internet service then ordering the service from them would be really convenient as additional paperwork is avoided.
Choosing an Internet Service Provider that is right for you in terms of price, service and reliability is essential for your online business success.