Congress sold you out to ISPs, and now you must turn your computer into a web center and become an ISP



Congress sold you out to ISPs, and now you must turn your computer into a web center and become an ISP


They betrayed you for chump change

by T.C. Sottek 

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Republicans in Congress just voted to reverse a landmark FCC privacy rule that opens the door for ISPs to sell customer data. Lawmakers provided no credible reason for this being in the interest of Americans, except for vague platitudes about “consumer choice” and “free markets,” as if consumers at the mercy of their local internet monopoly are craving to have their web history quietly sold to marketers and any other third party willing to pay.

The only people who seem to want this are the people who are going to make lots of money from it. (Hint: they work for companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T.) Incidentally, these people and their companies routinely give lots of money to members of Congress.

So here is a list of the lawmakers who voted to betray you, and how much money they received from the telecom industry in their most recent election cycle.

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Note on the data below: donations include contributions from corporations in the telecom industry and employees of those corporations (individual and non-individual contributions). The largest donors tend to be corporations which contributed funds to the candidate and /or the candidate’s leadership organization (PAC). All figures only reflect donations tallied for the candidate’s most recent election — many have received total sums much larger than the figure reflected over the course of their career in Congress. Figures are from federal election data compiled by the National Institute on Money in State Politics (

Additionally, it’s important to note that the communications industry is one of the largest lobbying groups in US history; internet providers and the telephone companies before them are notorious for spreading wealth across the aisle. Regardless, one party seems more responsive to the industry’s demands.

How to Become an ISP Provider

by Shari Parsons Miller
Provide Internet services to customers by becoming an ISP.

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There are two main paths to starting a business as an Internet service provider. An ISP delivers technology infrastructure and services that allow customers in a specific geographic area to connect with the Internet. The simplest approach to becoming an ISP is to operate as a virtual provider that resells an existing ISP’s services under a new name. The other approach -- becoming a facility-based ISP -- requires that you own/rent, operate and maintain a facility and all of the equipment needed to support the Internet service network.

Virtual ISP

Forming a virtual ISP involves entering into a formal agreement with an established facility-based provider that will supply the business with discounted connectivity services. The virtual ISP then sells the services at a markup to its own customers under its own name to generate business cash flow. Since most agreements require the virtual ISP to maintain minimum customer volumes, it is important for businesses entering the market to have a ready customer base and a strong marketing plan before signing a contract. Be sure to clearly define responsibilities for each partner at the outset to help avoid potential administrative and customer service issues.

Facility-Based ISP

The first thing a business needs to launch a brick-and-mortar ISP is a facility to house the equipment required to deliver connectivity services, such as routers, servers and modems. The facility will need a constant supply of power and a reliable backup resource to ensure uninterrupted service delivery to customers. Air flow systems are also critical so that temperature can be properly regulated to keep equipment functioning optimally. Appropriate security measures -- such as alarms, surveillance cameras and authorization pass codes -- are necessary for protection of the facility and equipment.

Network Infrastructure

The next step in becoming a facility-based ISP is to build the network infrastructure. The heart of the network is the Ethernet switch that enables equipment from different sources to communicate with each other. The Ethernet marks the distribution point from which the ISP can provide local network access through modems and remote-access servers. A router is needed to connect the ISP’s local network to the Internet, and servers are required to manage the incoming and outgoing traffic associated with Web hosting and user services such as e-mail. When building network infrastructure, consider a modular approach that makes it easier to accommodate future capacity growth with component additions rather than reconfiguring the entire network.


In addition to the physical aspects involved in establishing an ISP business, there are administrative considerations that should be addressed before launching services to customers. Take into account any legal requirements for the business and outline specific operational needs, such as personnel, policies and procedures necessary to perform the daily tasks of the business. Make sure all foundational resources are in place to meet the ISP’s service commitments to customers. Additional resources can be added later as needed to support business growth.

How to Start Your Own Virtual ISP for Free

by Nicholas Robbins
VOiP technology provides phone service over the internet.

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Resellers use virtual Internet service providers, or VISPS, to sell space on the circuits of existing Internet service providers. These VISPs then market their services as ISPs without indicating that they don't own or service the access directly. Entrepreneurs looking to gain access to this field must often provide sizable payments to cover setup costs and reserve space for their company. Certain ISPs that offer virtual services, also known as "affinity services," require only a portion of subscription fees instead of upfront fees.

1. Contact local Internet service providers to set up a virtual Internet service provider contract. The terms of the contract may specify upfront costs for reserving space, building logos and interfaces, or providing support to VISP clients. Your local chamber of commerce or Better Business Bureau may assist with finding ISPs willing to provide VISP options.

2. Negotiate the terms of the contract with free setup in mind. Offer higher percentages of revenue from subscribers in lieu of initial outlay of funds. Other options for negotiation include locking the VISP into an exclusive agreement with only one ISP, or agreeing to a long-term contract for a specified duration. This lessens the risk on the side of the ISP and may make the monetary provisions of the contract more flexible.

3. Advertise the new VISP through local resources such as radio ads, fliers and press releases to local news sources. VISPs make money for the small business and its ISP partner through subscriptions; potential clients must discover the service to sign up.


  • Ask your local chamber of commerce for any information on local laws and statutes dealing with Internet service providers. Municipalities may set their own rules for the number and size of local ISPs.


  • Don't forget to obtain service information from the ISP partner. Prepare a list of tech personnel and customer service representatives to deal with potential network problems.


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