What is the Difference Between ISP and Telco?
There is no doubt about the fact that the internet has taken over the telecommunication industry by storm.
09:36 19 August 2021
It has managed to keep its central place in our households while increasing in importance and demand over time. Just head to Spectrum online and you’ll get the perfect idea of what I’m talking about. High-speed connectivity is the need of the day, for sure.
Now, the world of network technology can be confusing for someone who is not tech-savvy. There are so many complex terms and terminologies that they can easily make your head spin around. For instance, many people find it difficult to decipher the two common terms that are interlinked deeply, i.e. Telco and ISP. You might use them often but be rarely familiar with their true meaning and background. In simple words, ISP means an internet service provider, whereas, Telco is an abbreviation of telecommunication.
Let’s do a quick background check. Initially, a telephone company introduced ‘Telco’. Landline providers transmitted data by using twisted pair cables. However, later on, they started delivering internet service, as well, through dial-up connections and thus, became internet service providers (ISPs) that we see and lean on today.
As we all remember, the dial-up connections were completely dependent on telephone lines, so we used to leverage them to establish an internet connection. By connecting those cables to the phone modem, every internet service provider could readily supply internet services in all areas. Let us further explain both terminologies in detail.
The True Meaning of Telco
Telco is broadly used to describe a company that provides telephone services, like voice calls and text messaging in various areas. You can also use this term to describe the telecommunications industry, but it is not restricted to that nuance only. Telco can be defined as a holistic communications supplier, whose job is to distribute communications services through various mediums, such as cellular, internet, and public-switched telephone networks to our homes and offices. Their core services include landline and cell phone services. Making use of twisted pair cables, Telcos provide internet speeds that hover around 15 Mbps.
Telcos have a range of packages and plans in store for their consumers. Users can see for themselves and choose the best plan that suits their needs. Different TSPs offer different perks, such as localized customer service, extensive coverage, or zero per-minute costs, etc., and charge you a monthly fee for your subscription. Their plans often encompass the top calling features, like:
- Call Waiting
- Caller ID
- Call Barring
- Call Forwarding
In addition, for business customers, Telcos offer a wide range of customized features from the likes of:
- Three-Way Conferencing
- Extension Calling
- Hunt Groups
Now, in regards to their latest development, they have started to provide internet services through fiber optics cables, as well, which is really like a cherry on top.
The Role & Types of ISP
As mentioned earlier, ISP stands for an internet service provider. ISPs make sure that you get a reliable and efficient internet connection at your home. They are also capable of providing internet services at your workplaces and in public areas. Now, there are various types of internet providers, which you can find near you. These include:
Satellite Internet Provider
Satellite is one of the earliest means of internet connectivity, which is used by hundreds of households, especially in the rural areas, to this day. For satellite internet, you might have to install a satellite dish on your rooftop, which will catch and decipher the network signals sent by the ISP. Besides the dish, a satellite modem, a wireless router, and a network cable would be all that you need to get started.
The drawback of satellite internet is that it tends to get more affected by weather conditions. It is also more expensive to maintain than any other service. So, it’s better to go with satellite internet only if you live in areas where other internet services are not available. Top satellite ISPs are Viasat and HughesNet.
Cable Internet Provider
Such ISPs use the same coaxial cables to provide internet services to homes, which are responsible for transmitting content on your TV set. They are capable of delivering fast internet speeds, ranging from 50 Mbps to even 1000 Mbps. You will just need a cable modem that will be connected to your PC to enjoy surfing the internet while using the cable.
Fiber-Optic Internet Provider
Fiber-Optic ISPs leverage the latest and the trendiest technology, i.e. glass fibers, to provide internet service. These are about the diameter of a single hair! Fiber internet operates by converting electrical signals that contain data packets into light signals and transmitting them through the fiber optic wires at the speed of 1 Gbps and more, which is 20 times faster than cable. It has the following three types:
- Fiber to the Home (FTTH)
- Fiber to the Club (FTTC)
- Fiber to the Node (FTTN)
However, fiber internet seems to be lacking when it comes to coverage. Because it’s new, it requires a fiber-optic infrastructure to operate in the respective area.
So, What is the difference between ISP and Telco?
To take an analogy, Telco is the road on which you travel from point A to B, and ISP is your car, which comes with all these amazing specifications and the power to take you to your destination. Telco sets the groundwork for your internet to work. It is the predecessor and a wider domain, including several services like landline, network, and mobile, whereas, ISP specializes in internet supply only.
Therefore, after establishing the differences between the two terms, you can easily choose the one that will suit your connectivity needs. It will also help you to explain these terms to those who are not yet aware.