Communications Service Provider

Communications Service Provider

A Communications Service Provider or CSP is a company that transports information electronically. The term encompasses public and private companies in the wireline, wireless, Internet, cable, satellite, and managed services businesses.

The market in which a communication service provider specializes is often a function of the industry served. These industries can be divided into three categories: telecommunications, entertainment and media, and Internet/Web services. Some communication service providers have branched into multiple areas. Others provide communication services across all major categories.

The term CSP came into vogue in the late 1990s. Prior to this time, communications businesses were highly specialized, with little overlap between traditional telecom, cellular, cable, and Internet companies. In the 1990s, deregulation (in the US, the Telecom Act of 1996) and technology convergence began to cause massive upheaval in the industry. As companies began to offer broader portfolios of communications services, traditional categories were inadequate to describe service providers. The term Communications Service Provider is now widely accepted as a broad category encompassing all of these businesses.

The term Telecommunications Service Provider or TSP generally refers to the subcategory of CSPs that have traditionally provided voice services, notably ILECs, CLECs, and mobile wireless companies. While some people use the term CSP and TSP interchangeably, the term TSP generally exclude ISPs, cable companies, satellite TV, and managed service providers.


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