A communications service provider (CSP) is a service provider that transports information electronically, for example a telecommunications service provider. The term encompasses public and private companies in the telecom (landline and wireless), Internet, cable, satellite, and managed services businesses.
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, driving huge investments in optical fiber and network assets. 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.
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