@On Tue, 9 Apr 1996, Srinivasarao Mulugu wrote:
@> Well, one study I came across talks about a major shake-out over
@> the next few years resulting in about 200 ISPs by 2000. It projects
@> a decline in the number of ISPs beginning early 1997.
@That's right. The Internet market and the Internet industry is still
@growing by leaps and bounds. In order for a significant shakeout to
@occur, that exponential growth curve has to level off. Even then there is
@every possibility that there will be plenty of room for the small local ISP
@especially when you understand how an ISP operation can be integrated
@with a number of other computer/networking oriented businesses.
@Michael Dillon Voice: +1-604-546-8022
Also, ISPs of the future may not look like ISPs as we know them. For example,
I have spoken to churches that want to install a rack of modems and provide
dial-up service and e-mail to their congregation. Many of their people are not
pleased having their e-mail being spooled at an ISP that browses through their
messages. Their church becomes their "ISP".
Not only do these churches want to provide traditional services, they also want
to use real audio and other voice add-ons to broadcast their services. Special
services for seniors are also being considered, such as monitoring for activity
in their homes and the dispatching of people to the home if no packets are flowing
to check if something is wrong.
Another area where ISP growth will occur is in special interest group ISPs.
Some groups may choose to provide "free" dial-up service in return for collecting
statistics, market research, doing advertising, etc. Also, certain promotions
and sweepstakes could be tied to free access via ISPs. For people that only
want to use the Internet for a limited set of functions, an ISP could provide
free service via a highly subsidized existing business. Stock brokerages and
banks are obvious "vendors" that could provide selected customers with free
or low-cost access. Some large banks already provide customers with free limos
why not free Internet access?
No matter what happens, Internet Access will be driven to a commodity pricing
level as people and companies discover that they can provide a minimum number
of services and still look good because of the synergy of the Internet. This may
end if large information providers find that they can market their publications to
selected ISPs that are willing to pay a small subscription fee based on the number
of users supported by the ISP. This may cause a shake-out if ISPs find that
they can not afford the fees and subscribers decide to go where the information
flows freely or where truly unique services are offered via ISPs that have an
exclusive for the region.