According to a study conducted by the Software Publishers Association, 70% of the people in the United States getting access to the Internet do so through an online service such as America Online, CompuServe, or the Microsoft Network. The remaining 30% get their access from Internet Service Providers (ISPs). If these figures are correct, there are approximately 18 million people in the United States paying some company for Web access.

According to the report, "people accessing the Internet through an ISP are more likely than online service users to seek out educational sites. Perhaps reflecting past pricing plans, ISP users are still more likely to simply 'surf the Net' than are those coming through online services."

People who do use an ISP tend to remain connected two hours more per week than online service users. Only 21% say they've made purchases online