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Virtual ISP

A Virtual ISP (vISP) purchases services from another ISP (sometimes called a wholesale ISP or similar within this context) that allow the vISP's customers to access the Internet via one or more Points of Presence (PoPs) that are owned and operated by the wholesale ISP. There are various models for the delivery of this type of service, for example, the wholesale ISP could provide network access to end users via its dial-up modem PoPs or DSLAMs installed in telephone exchanges, and route, switch, and/or tunnel the end user traffic to the vISP's network, whereupon they may route the traffic toward its destination. In another model, the wholesale ISP does not route any end user traffic, and needs only provide AAA (Authentication, Authorization and Accounting) functions, as well as any "value-add" services like email or web hosting. Any given ISP may use their own PoPs to deliver one service, and use a vISP model to deliver another service, or, use a combination to deliver a service in different areas. The service provided by a wholesale ISP in a vISP model is distinct from that of an upstream ISP, even though in some cases, they may both be one and the same company. The former provides connectivity from the end user's premises to the Internet or to the end user's ISP, the latter provides connectivity from the end user's ISP to all or parts of the rest of the Internet.

A vISP can also refer to a completely automated white label service offered to anyone at no cost or for a minimal set-up fee. The actual ISP providing the service generates revenue from the calls and may also share a percentage of that revenue with the owner of the vISP. All technical aspects are dealt with leaving the owner of vISP with the task of promoting the service. This sort of service is however declining due to the popularity of unmetered internet access also known as flatrate.


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