Short for Internet Service Provider, it refers to a company that provides Internet services, including personal and business access to the Internet. For a monthly fee, the service provider usually provides a software package, username, password and access phone number. Equipped with a modem, you can then log on to the Internet and browse the World Wide Web and USENET, and send and receive e-mail. For broadband access you typically receive the broadband modem hardware or pay a monthly fee for this equipment that is added to your ISP account billing.
In addition to serving individuals, ISPs also serve large companies, providing a direct connection from the company’s networks to the Internet. ISPs themselves are connected to one another through Network Access Points (NAPs). ISPs may also be called IAPs (Internet Access Providers).