Home Business What do the internet service providers actually sell to us?

What do the internet service providers actually sell to us?


The simplest explanation that is used for internet service providers is their ability to give internet access to users so they can connect to other internet users around the world. But when delving deeper into detail, there is much more to just giving internet access. There is a whole process behind it. Apart from internet services, some providers also deal in TV cable and telephone services. For instance, Comcast has Xfinity bundles where they are giving internet, TV cable, and home services all in the same package for a reasonable rate. In one package, consumers get internet and TV cable at a rate whose pricing would otherwise tick them off if paid for separately. In others, they get home security along with the internet, hence, providing services other than the internet is also one of the ISP’s jobs.

How does the internet get to consumers?

Behind the internet-browsing screen is a whole lot of process going on that is mainly the ISP’s responsibility towards consumers’ demand for internet. It is important to understand where the internet comes from to get to the what and how of providing internet to the consumers. There are three levels of ISP:

  • The topmost hierarchy called Tier 1 has the global reach and physical infrastructure of providing internet traffic to everyone.Tier 1 ISPs do not have to pay for any services, rather the ones at lower tiers pay for the cost of passing the network traffic from one geolocation to another, which they cannot do otherwise.
  • Tier 2 ISPs are at a regional or national level and they pass the network traffic from Tier 3 ISPs to Tier 1 ISPs at a local level.
  • The last one in the hierarchy model called Tier 1 ISPs pays Tier 2 ISPs for the network traffic to deliver to their customers. Tier 1 ISPs work on all purchasing models for their consumers.

Generally, ISPs connect to other ISPs at the same level and allow network traffic to pass between them and this process is referred to as peering.

What are ISP’s responsibilities? The deets

Below is mentioned some of the major responsibilities and duties of ISPs that they owe to their consumers and subscribers:

  • To provide a reliable and accessible network traffic
  • To provide authentic routing information
  • To provide authentic naming information
  • To make customers aware of safe browsing and cyber threat
  • To report any security incident towards the network
  • To report any disruptions in the infrastructure or network connections
  • To not participate in any criminal activity

What are consumers paying for?

ISP’s main function is to basically provide internet services to their consumers. But there is other stuff that consumers are paying for and that includes:

  • Installing wiring from the consumers’ homes to nodes or ISP’s home center for network traffic
  • Maintaining a physical connection to consumers’ homes by providing router/modem
  • Other technical support
  • Allowing consumers to have access to internet servers so they can visit websites
  • Costs of ISP’s housing equipment at their centers
  • Wages of their staff members who maintain, repair, and install the internet equipment
  • Email services that ISPs offer
  • Cloud storage as well that ISPs offer
  • Power used to run ISPs systems

How else is ISP profiting?

Since consumers are accessing the internet through ISP’s network servers, it gives ISPs the chance to generate revenues for themselves. By connecting to their network, customers are giving ISPs access to their private information, such as their location, information about the websites they visit, what they click at on these websites, the duration they take by staying on each of the pages of the website, etc.The ISP then sells the consumers’ somewhatanonymous information to marketing agencies. Internet users are potential customers for marketing agencies that need advertising space for their products and services.

Apart from selling consumers’ information around, ISPs can also use this opportunity to provide positive marketing strategies to their consumers. Nowadays, excessive information is available to internet users all the time and there is no way to tell if it is true or misleading. ISPs can give other brands or awareness campaigns to provide clear, simple, and informative data to internet users. That way, consumers are educated about different matters based on the rightful sources.

Along with generating revenues from consumers’ by unofficial means, ISP’s responsibilities include owing services and information to their consumers so they are aware of what they are getting themselves into by signing up to the internet.