Ranking Internet Service Providers by Size

This page is maintained by Nick Christenson, npc@jetcafe.org. It was last updated on November 20, 2005.

The point of this page is to track the relative sizes of the larger Internet Service Providers, where size is measured by some notion of the extent of their customer base. Very little information has been made publically available on this, and as far as I can tell, no attempt has ever been made to collate it. The purpose of this page is to make this attempt. It will disappear if anyone with real time and resources ever decides to track this information and make it public. Since the page has been around for since the summer of 1998 and this has not yet happened, this doesn't look too likely.

About the only way to gain real information on the size of the customer base of any ISP is via their own announcements. Because of various ISP's philosophies regarding disclosure, some of this data comes from far more accurate and up-to-date sources than others. This is an unfortunate necessity. Of course, we have no real idea what the methodology is that they are using, nor can we tell whether these numbers are in any way accurate. Further, as is especially the case for the free service ISPs, it's hard to gain consensus on what these numbers mean, or how meaningful they are. Nonetheless, this information can show some relative sizes without needing to be horribly accurate.

The vast majority of the information here is compiled by me as I read various sources of ISP news. A sizeable fraction of the data are submitted to me by kind souls from around the Internet. This page is better for everyone because of their contributions. If you ever hear an ISP quote its size in any non-confidential context, please email this number to me, the name of the ISP, and information I can use to cite the figure. I don't intend to quote a number I cannot verify. Of course, representatives of the ISPs themselves are invited to send me their numbers when they can be disclosed publically.

The goal of this page is to list every ISP doing business in the United States that can legitimately claim more than 100,000 subscribers and list their actual size as accurately as possible. Some are listed that are smaller than this threshold, but I make no commitment to try to list these, especially if they do not have a nationwide or at least a large regional presence.

This is the information I have been able to find so far, along with a set of ISPs that may also be of sufficient size, but for whom I have no information.

By the way, I will no longer be adding information from Internetnews.com or affiliated web sites, as I believe their ethical standards for journalism are beneath contempt.

ISP Subscribership Date Source
America Online 22,200,000* 20050204 The Register
NetZero 8,600,000 20010503 Yahoo! (now United Online after merger with Juno)
Comcast 8,142,000 20050930 Leichtman Research Group
Microsoft Network 8,000,000 20040108 Yahoo!
Spinway 6,700,000 20004201 BlueLight press release on Spinway's demise
United Online 6,600,000*** 20041025 United Online press release
SBC Communication 6,496,000**** 20050930 Leichtman Research Group
EarthLink 5,400,000 20041021 CNet News
RoadRunner 4,557,000 20050930 Leichtman Research Group
Verizon 4,531,000**** 20050930 Leichtman Research Group
Prodigy 3,500,000 20011019 Yahoo!, now part of SBC
1stUp.com 3,500,000 20000426 Internet News (before they folded)
Freei.Net 3,200,000 20000810 Freei web site(acquired by NetZero on November 1, 2000)
AltaVista (via 1stUp) 3,000,000 20001206 Yahoo! (at the time they discontinued free service)
Cox Communications 2,975,000 20050930 Leichtman Research Group
Bell South 2,678,000**** 20050930 Leichtman Research Group
Charter Communications 2,120,000 20050930 Leichtman Research Group
Compuserve (AoL) 2,000,000* 20000630 2000 Annual Report to Shareholders
Adelphia 1,656,700 20050930 Leichtman Research Group
Cablevision 1,600,000 20050930 Leichtman Research Group
AT&T Worldnet 1,500,000 20000502 Internet News
Qwest 1,340,000**** 20050930 Leichtman Research Group
Mindspring 1,297,000 19991020 CNet News (merged with EarthLink on Feb. 7, 2000)
MSN TV 1,000,000 20030503 Microsoft Press Release, renamed WebTV service
Juno 910,000*** 20010424 Yahoo! (Now merged with NetZero.)
RCN 827,000 20020208 Yahoo!
Bright House Networks 815,000 20050930 Leichtman Research Group
OneMain 794,000 20000803 Yahoo!(Before acquisition by EarthLink)
Gateway.net (AoL) 740,000 20000119 AoL web site
Sprint DSL 638,000 20050930 Leichtman Research Group
Covad 578,400 20050930 Leichtman Research Group
GTE 491,000 19991129 San Francisco Chronicle, now part of Verizon
CoreComm 462,000 20001013 Yahoo!
Mediacom 453,000 20050930 Leichtman Research Group
PeoplePC 450,000 2001 PeoplePC web site
Insight 439,200 20050930 Leichtman Research Group
IBM Global Internet >400,000 19980421 Computer Retail Week (Acquired by AT&T Worldnet on December 8, 1998)
Netcom 400,000 19990107 San Jose Mercury News (at the time of the Mindspring buyout)
Voyager.net 368,000 20000927 Yahoo! (at the time of the CoreComm merger approval
iFreedom 365,000 20000914 Yahoo! (referring its customers to NetZero)
ALLTEL 359,975**** 20050930 Leichtman Research Group
Verio 300,000 20000324 Yahoo!
SW Bell/Pacific Bell 300,000 19980515 Pacific Bell Internet press release, now part of SBC
WorldSpy 260,000 20000710 Red Herring (at the time it folded)
Millennium Digital Medium 250,000 20010323 Millennium Digital Medium web site
Volaris Online 250,000 20011101 Volaris Online web site
FlashNet 231,000 20000515 Yahoo! (at the time of the Prodigy acquisition)
Cable One 219,900 20050930 Leichtman Research Group
CenturyTel 219,879 20050930 Leichtman Research Group
Bell Atlantic 200,000 19991129 San Francisco Chronicle, now part of Verizon
Concentric 197,000 19991100 Second hand from a Concentric employee.
Sprynet 180,000 19990107 San Jose Mercury News (at the time of the Mindspring buyout)
High Speed Access 176,000 20010803 Yahoo! (now sold all its assets to Charter)
BlueLight.com 174,000 20030206 United Online press release (at the time of the United Online acquisition)
Everyones Internet 170,000 20020104 Houston Business Journal
Eisa.com 165,000 19991201 eisa.com web page
Cincinnati Bell 153,500**** 20050930 Leichtman Research Group
JPSnet 115,000 19990303 JPSnet press release (acquired by OneMain, now part of EarthLink)
Internet Commerce & Communication 112,000 20000613 Internet News
Cable & Wireless >104,000 19990720 estimate from Prodigy press release at time of CW dial up acquisition
Slash net 100,000 19980518 Internet Week
GoAmerica 91,384 20030409 Yahoo!
IDT 80,000 19981020 IDT web site
Internet America 76,000 20031114 Yahoo!
Broadwing 76,000 20021231 April 2, 2003 issue of DSL Prime
VillageNet 70,000 19991123 VillageWorld press release
BiznessOnline.com 63,000 19991230 BusinessOnline.com Press Release
Aplus.Net 62,000 20010401 Aplus.Net web site
Primary Network 60,000 20000124 Primary Network press release (Now part of Mpower)
FirstWorld 58,700 20000216 CNet News (customers purchased by EarthLink)
InterLync 47,000 20000330 Email from an InterLync employee
Log on America 45,000 20000809 Log on America press release (Sold it's subscriber base to EarthLink)
PDQ.net 45,000 19990913 PDQ.net web site(at the time of the Internet America buyout)
Metricom 40,900 20010209 Yahoo! (before their demise)
Northpoint 40,000 20000330 CNet News (at the time of the AT&T acquisition)
Teleport 40,000 19991130 OneMain web site (at the time of the OneMain takeover)
WorldShare.net 38,000 20000406 WorldsShare.net employee email
21st Century 37,000 19991213 Internet News (at the time of the RCN takeover)
Big Net 35,000 20000202 Email from the Big Net CFO
TIAC 33,000 19990622 Internet News (at the time of the PSI buyout)
BestWeb 30,000 20010411 BusinessWeek online
Flashcom 24,500 20010222 TheStreet.com (as Covad acquires them)
HiWAAY Internet Services 23,500 20020311 Email from HiWAAY Internet employee
FIRST 20,000 20000123 Email from the 1st.net CEO
Fastnet 19,770 20001121 Yahoo!
CAIS Internet 16,000 20010529 Yahoo!
@Link 11,000 20010426 CNet News (as @Link closes its doors)
Brigadoon 7,000 19981102 CNet News
Primenet ? ? No info on their web site.
Worldcom ? ? No info on their web site.
Panix ? ? No info on their web site.
InfiNet ? ? No info on their web site.

This page Copyright Nick Christenson, 1998 - 2005, All Rights Reserved.