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communication service provider (CSP)

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Communication service provider (CSP) is the broad title for a variety of service providers in broadcast and two-way communications services.

Types of providers under the umbrella of CSP include traditional CSPs like wireless and landline telecommunications, cable and satellite communications providers that own their own infrastructure. Also included are content providers and cloud communications providers, which use a customer bring your own bandwidth (BYOB) model.

Traditional providers once monopolized communication infrastructures which was owned by the company. This limited ownership made for low competition and high-cost, high-margin communications, especially when international communications were concerned. There was also little overlap between specialized communication methods, like cable, satellite, wireless and traditional landlines. Deregulation in the 1980s and the increase in new technologies caused traditional providers to offer a larger selection of services, breaking the definitive categories of traditional communication services.

Currently, IP telephony technologies and changes in regulations have eroded the margins on communications and lowered costs. The change in costs makes for high competition among providers. This change in the market is a result of the competition working around traditional providers as their continual reliance on monopoly became impossible when other services could offer low-cost or even free overseas communications.

Today, CSPs are focused on the digital transformation of the industry with the increased popularity of technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), analytics and automation.

This was last updated in October 2018

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