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What is an ISP?

The acronym ISP stands for Internet Service Provider. There are two basic ways to connect to the Internet—one is through an online service, such as America Online (see opposite page). The other way is to find an Internet Service Provider (ISP) who gives you special numbers to dial from your computer at home to connect to their servers, and your iMac has the special software necessary. This software and the numbers connect you to their computers (the isp's), and their computers connect you to the Internet, as illustrated below.

There are probably several local providers in your area. Ask your friends whom they use for Internet access. You will typically pay a set-up fee to the ISP and a monthly fee for your connection. The fees can vary widely, so you might want to ask around about the cost of a local provider.


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