An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is a company that provides Internet access. In the UK, many of these buy their access from BT's wholesale branch.

The European Union, unlike the USA, set up a competitive market in Internet access, in order to keep prices low.

In UK legal matters it has been common for ISPs to be included under the umbrella of Communication Service Provider (CSP) which can be extended to cover telephony providers and online services (e.g. Skype). These have also been referred to as ACSPs. The data retention provisions of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill refer to the provider of connectivity as an internet access service and uses internet communications service to refer to providers of communications services (such as email) on the internet.[1]

Internet connectivity for UK schools is often provided by a Regional Broadband Consortium (RBC).[2]

Main UK ISPs

The Big Five UK ISPs (with more than 400,000 subscribers[3])[4], are

Public wifi providers

Main public wifi providers are

See also


  1. Hansard, 2015-01-07
  3. Ofcom proposals propose the Digital Economy Act obligations apply to ISPs with more than 400k subscribers