backbone provider(n.) An organization that supplies access to high-speed transmission lines that connect users to the Internet. These lines comprise the backbone of the Internet. Different from an ISP, which provides users access to the Internet, a backbone provider supplies the ISPs with access to the lines, such as T1 or T3 lines, that connect ISPs to each other, allowing the ISPs to offer their customers Internet access at high speeds.
Some major backbone providers include MCI, Sprint, UUNET, AGIS and BBN.
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