The Internet has been around since the 1960s where it first evolved from the U.S. Department of Defence ARPANET network. Until the early 1990s it's uptake had been largely confined to the academic and scientific communities from which it was founded. Only large multi-national companies were using it as a low cost communications medium between their employees around the globe. In 1991, IEUnet was formed and began to offer Internet services to Irish businesses and students on a commercial basis. It is from this beginning that ISPs have evolved in Ireland and the role they have played has changed.
In this dissertation we:
• Explore the evolving role of the ISPs in Ireland over the past 9 years.
• Investigate the emerging technologies and how they may impact upon the future of ISPs.
• Examine the issues that ISPs face and their trade-offs.
• Look into the factors that may impact upon the success or failure of an ISP.
Due to the continually evolving nature of the Internet initial secondary research was conducted through consulting magazines, journals, newspapers and web sites on the related areas under discussion. Primary research then helped to confirm the accuracy of the information obtained and highlighted other areas of research relevant to the ISPs. The results of online surveys conducted by third parties also helped confirm the accuracy of information pertaining to Internet usage and opinions of Internet users. Overall we found that the role of the ISP has evolved rapidly in line with the technological changes associated with the Internet. Those who are able to keep pace with these changes, learn from their users by means of Customer Relationship Management (C.R.M.) systems and fulfill their needs by use of 'Choiceboards' will dominate.