Internet Service Provider
An Internet Service Provider or ISP is a registered company under the Companies Act of 2013 that provides Internet Services to its subscribers. A registered ISP buys internet bandwidth from certain telecom companies and provides internet access to its clients. To operate as an ISP in India, the company must procure the necessary Internet Service Provider license from the Department of Telecommunications. The license so issued is formally known as the Unified ISP License.
Also Read: How to start ISP business in india
But there are different categories of ISP licenses available in India. Each of them differs in its coverage area and registration cost. Therefore, the ISP applicant must pay a different amount for different Internet Service Provider Licenses in India.
Types of Internet Service Providers in India
Suppose one approaches a DoT consultant or applies for and knows the procedure of getting the license in India. Then, they must be clear on the kind of ISP license they want to procure for their business. The Internet Service Provider licenses differ on the size of the area in which the applicant wants to provide the internet services.
Categorization of ISP license: Based on Service Area
Broadly speaking, the DoT has categorized Internet Service Providers into three types depending on the size of their coverage area. Each license category we have discussed in this article also gives you an insight into the respective license prices.
Nationwide ISP License (Category A)
The Class A Internet Service Provider License provides internet coverage over the entire nation. Therefore, the telecom infrastructure can cover a large geographical area. There are very few class A license holders in India because the License fee is very high. But getting a category-A License can be lucrative if one can manage such a monetary requirement. So, if you have ample funding, and are willing to move forward, then get your unified ISP license.
Also Read: The Complete Guide to Unified License in India
Provincial ISP License (Category B )
Suppose you want to provide internet services in 20 territorial regions in the country, which are fair of a provincial size. In that case, you can avail of a Category B Internet Service Provider license. This type of license fee lies in the mid-range regarding coverage area and licensing cost. The Cat. B licenses are majorly acquired to provide internet services in urban regions.
District-sized ISP License (Category C)
The Category C Internet Service Provider License is primarily for those ISPs who want to provide internet service in an SSA. The SSA, or Secondary Switching Area, is a networking unit of the Department of Telecommunication (DoT). It is the most quite inexpensive license for an ISP to procure.
Furthermore, A class C license is desirable for start-ups because of this relatively low licensing cost. Also, you can provide internet access to a small town, village, or even a street by getting a unified license category C. Among all the categories of ISP licenses, the category C license is the most sought-after because of its affordable nature.
However, no category-specific Internet Service Provider licenses exist regardless of the categories available. It is just a single unified Internet Service Provider license within which you can specify your license category, i.e. mention the area where you want to provide internet services. One can distinguish between different Internet Service Providers based on this particular factor.