online service provider (OSP) definition

1) On the Internet, OSP (online service provider) has several different meanings.

  • The term has had some currency in distinguishing Internet access providers that have their own online independent content, such as America Online (AOL), from Internet service providers (ISPs) that simply connect the user directly with the Internet. In general, the companies sometimes identified as OSPs (in this usage) offer an extensive online array of services of their own apart from the rest of the Internet and sometimes their own version of a Web browser. Connecting to the Internet through an OSP is an alternative to connecting through one of the national Internet service providers, such as AT&T or MCI, or a regional or local ISP.
  • Some Internet service providers (ISPs) describe themselves as online service providers. In this usage, ISP and OSP are synonyms.
  • America Online has used the term to refer to online content providers (usually Web sites) with which AOL has a business agreement.

2) Some companies use OSP in describing themselves as office service providers.

This was first published in September 2005

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