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Access Provider

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Note: Many topics at this site are reduced versions of the text in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications." Search results will not be as extensive as a search of the book's CD-ROM.

An access provider is a service company that provides communication links into other networks. The most common example is an ISP (Internet service provider). Another example is a local or long-distance phone carrier.

An ASP (Application Service Provider) offers services that are the equivalent of renting software and provide a way for companies to outsource the management of the applications, especially groupware, collaboration, electronic commerce, and business-to-business applications.

An OSP (online service provider) is best characterized by AOL (America Online), which provides nationwide access to an enhanced set of information services and an "online community." These services are only available to subscribers, and as any AOL user will tell you, are quite popular with users. For example, AOL has an "instant messaging" service that can alert you when a friend logs on and let you exchange messages with that person in real time.

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