[ppml] Definition of "Existing Known ISP"

michael.dillon at bt.com michael.dillon at bt.com
Mon Apr 30 09:22:09 EDT 2007

> I think that today's definition of ISP not not limited to user access,
> transit, and backbone services as it once was.  Companies providing
> web hosting and co-location services should be considered ISPs.

Companies providing services that include connectivity to the Internet
are Internet Service Providers.  Not just the ones which provide
Internet access services. Seems reasonable.

> For
> that matter, there are also companies that call themselves ASPs,
> Application Service Providers, that have the same Internet number
> needs as ISPs.

This is a bit grey. There are ASPs that sit higher up the food chain.
They by hosting services from someone who buys colocation services from
someone who buys a rack from someone who has a data center on the

Thinking about the difference between these two groupings, I think that
infrastructure is the key factor. ISPs build infrastructure and ASPs may
only use infrastructure, not build it. Web hosting and colo service also
build infrastructure even if it is different from a backbone (inter-city
telecommunications) or an access provider (last-mile
telecommunications). It may be useful to try to use more generic terms
and fully describe the situation rather than splitting hairs with
in-group jargon that was defined back when the Internet ecosystem's
architecture was rather different from today. If we get rid of the term
ISP, then things become clearer.

Orgs which build and operate IP network infrastructure composed of one
or more of,

  a) inter-city telecommmunications links
  b) last-mile telecommunications links
  c) network-connected data centers

In other words backbones, Internet access and hosting (or PoPs).
Probably should throw in language to indicate that it is not necessary
to own the fiber in the ground, or the buildings, but that some
indication of long-term leases for these is needed.

> Perhaps the S. in I.S.P. should be pluralized because nowadays there
> are more than one type of service.  Or perhaps the term "services
> provider" should be used in lieu of the acronym ISP.

Bad move. Then it becomes totally ambiguous and includes companies that
are not in any way involved in telecommunications.

--Michael Dillon

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