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At one point in time, the term online service provider (or OSP) referred to online companies, such as America Online, that provide access to proprietary content as well as allowing their users to access the Internet. OSPs were distinguished from Internet service providers, which offered a connection to the Internet but no proprietary content.
Such distinctions became blurred, and are of only historical importance today, since online service providers, such as the Microsoft Network, have moved their content onto the Internet, and former dedicated Internet service providers now offer content as well.