How to Become an Internet Service Provider

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

To get from your home or office to the Internet, you need to connect to an ISP. This is an Internet service provider, and it serves as a contact point between a customer/user and the Internet. The ISP is a user’s first point of outside contact, when they leave their home or office, in order to connect to the Internet. The ISP can support users, provide DNS services, process e-mail, route information and provide security. The most important feature of an ISP, from the user's perspective, is bandwidth for upload or download operations.

Create your business plan for the type of ISP you want to have. You must have a finance document spelling out how much you can spend, where and how. You must have a marketing plan to acquire customers. You must secure funding for your project.

Get servers. The Internet runs on servers. Preferably, get servers that are UNIX-based. You can get Sun computers that will act as Web servers, Mail account servers, DNS servers and news servers. You may need to get multiple servers to get started and to handle the traffic.

Get a communication server. This is an open standards-based computing system. It operates as a carrier-grade common platform, moving traffic in and out for a wide range of communications applications. It allows equipment providers to add service value at many levels of the system architecture. Your choice can be MicroTCA, Carrier Grade Linux and Service Availability, AdvancedTCA.

To move traffic around, you will need routers. Routers move traffic between networks; without a router, you cannot send any traffic to remote locations. Cisco makes industry standard routers that will allow users to have access to the Internet.

Select space in a building to rent, lease or purchase. This will be the point of presence, i.e. the contact point for the user to the Internet. The building should have 500 pairs of copper wiring or the fiber equivalent.

Select an upstream provider that is nearby. An upstream provider is a communications company that can take your traffic and redirect it. Look at Sprint or MCI. These providers will allow you to access the bandwidth that you need for your clients.

Get phone lines. The ratio is one phone line and modem for every five customers. Order the phone lines in batches of 20. This will reduce your costs and allow new customers to sign up without delay.


Becoming an ISP is a challenging task. You need funding, a good working plan and a lot of equipment. You will also work long hours. It is your business.