The Internet was developed as a network between government research laboratories and participating departments of universities. By the late 1980s, a process was set in place towards public, commercial use of the Internet. The remaining restrictions were removed by 1995, 4 years after the introduction of the World Wide Web.

Access providers ISP
ISPs provide Internet access, employing a range of technologies to connect users to their network.Available technologies have ranged from computer modems with acoustic couplers to telephone lines, to television cable (CATV), wireless Ethernet (wi-fi), and fiber optics.

For users and small businesses, traditional options include copper wires to provide dial-up, DSL, typically asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL), cable modem or Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) (typically basic rate interface). Using fiber-optics to end users is called Fiber To The Home or similar names.

For customers with more demanding requirements (such as medium-to-large businesses, or other ISPs) can use higher-speed DSL (such as single-pair high-speed digital subscriber line), Ethernet, metropolitan Ethernet, gigabit Ethernet, Frame Relay, ISDN Primary Rate Interface, ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) and synchronous optical networking (SONET).

Wireless access is another option, including cellular and satellite Internet access.

Mailbox providers
A mailbox provider is an organization that provides services for hosting electronic mail domains with access to storage for mail boxes. It provides email servers to send, receive, accept, and store email for end users or other organizations.

Many mailbox providers are also access providers,while others are not (e.g., Yahoo! Mail,, Gmail, AOL Mail, Po box). The definition given in RFC 6650 covers email hosting services, as well as the relevant department of companies, universities, organizations, groups, and individuals that manage their mail servers themselves. The task is typically accomplished by implementing Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) and possibly providing access to messages through Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP), the Post Office Protocol, Webmail, or a proprietary protocol.

Hosting ISPs
Internet hosting services provide email, web-hosting, or online storage services. Other services include virtual server, cloud services, or physical server operation.

Transit ISPs

Tiers 1 and 2 ISP interconnections
Just as their customers pay them for Internet access, ISPs themselves pay upstream ISPs for Internet access. An upstream ISP usually has a larger network than the contracting ISP or is able to provide the contracting ISP with access to parts of the Internet the contracting ISP by itself has no access to

In the simplest case, a single connection is established to an upstream ISP and is used to transmit data to or from areas of the Internet beyond the home network; this mode of interconnection is often cascaded multiple times until reaching a tier 1 carrier. In reality, the situation is often more complex. ISPs with more than one point of presence (PoP) may have separate connections to an upstream ISP at multiple PoPs, or they may be customers of multiple upstream ISPs and may have connections to each one of them at one or more point of presence. Transit ISPs provide large amounts of bandwidth for connecting hosting ISPs and access ISPs.

Virtual ISPs
A virtual ISP (VISP) is an operation that purchases services from another ISP, sometimes called a wholesale ISP in this context,[42] which allow the VISP's customers to access the Internet using services and infrastructure owned and operated by the wholesale ISP. VISPs resemble mobile virtual network operators and competitive local exchange carriers for voice communications.

Free ISPs
Free ISPs are Internet service providers that provide service free of charge. Many free ISPs display advertisements while the user is connected; like commercial television, in a sense they are selling the user's attention to the advertiser. Other free ISPs, sometimes called freenets, are run on a nonprofit basis, usually with volunteer staff.[citation needed]

Wireless ISP
A wireless Internet service provider (WISP) is an Internet service provider with a network based on wireless networking. Technology may include commonplace Wi-Fi wireless mesh networking, or proprietary equipment designed to operate over open 900 MHz, 2.4 GHz, 4.9, 5.2, 5.4, 5.7, and 5.8 GHz bands or licensed frequencies such as 2.5 GHz (EBS/BRS), 3.65 GHz (NN) and in the UHF band (including the MMDS frequency band) and LMDS