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Internet service providers (“ISPs”)Internet service provider (ISP) refers simply to an organization that offers exclusive services to users in order to access and seemingly use the Internet. Some authors/expert might say cogently that the Internet service provider (ISP) is the gatekeeper to ecommerce and may be prepared or organized in various forms, such as marketable, community-owned, not -for-profit, or otherwise confidentially owned.
ISP’s make the internet accessible. The service rendered by the ISP’s may be classified into:
· Primary access services – dial-up access through analog modems, dedicated access through leased lines and cable network or wholesale services provided by backbone operations (eg MCI Worldcom, VSNL, etc); and
· Value added services – e-mail, web hosting, internet telephony, e-commerce services, etc
Presently, dial-up access is the single most popular access mechanism. However, with the advent of the best tools in convergence, access through cable, asymmetrical digital subscriber lines, local multi-point distribution system, etc are expected to significantly erode the number of subscribers opting for dial-up access. The single largest driver of this change is the inevitable necessity to provide greater bandwidth to internet users.
A number of ISPs are operating in india as a result of the opening up of the sector to private players. VSNL continues to be the largest ISP in india, with approximately 60 percent market share (nearly 6 lakh subscribers). Other major private players include Satyam infoway, Bharti-BT, Sprint RPG, Rolta, BSES, etc.
Application service provider (“ASP”)
An ASP manages and delivers application capabilities to multiple entities, either over a dedicated wide network or over the internet. The primary benefits are:
· The cost of the application and maintenance is spread over multiple users and hence the cost per user is reduced;
· Individual users are also relieved of the responsibility of maintaining server infrastructure and operating staff; and
· The model is suitable for packaged off-the-shelf applications, which can be used by multiple users without significant customization, etc.
Software companies such as Microsoft, Oracle, etc offer their packaged products through ASP’s. An ASP consortium has been formed in USA in May, 1999 whose members include IBM,Cisco, Citrix, Compaq, Exodus, Sun Microsystems, etc. In India, leading ISPs like Satyam and Dishnet and companies such as Wipro, Aptech, DSQ software have also shown interest in the ASP segment.