Like much of the telecoms industry, the Internet access service market is currently undergoing a period of consolidation. Despite the fact that the IAS market is one of the fastest growing telecoms segments, many smaller players have been squeezed out or have been subject to take-overs or partnerships with one of such ISP heavyweights as AOL Time Warner, AT&T, Tiscali, T-Online (Deutsche Telekom), Wanadoo (France Telecom), etc.
As a response to the unfavourable market conditions, rationalisation has been sought after under two directions:
the first response was to focus on one business, do it well, and, possibly, reach a critical size. For ISPs, this meant either focusing on network and access activities with the core business of establishing an infrastructure and selling access or on media activities. In this line, some smaller ISPs were split, like in France where the networking unit of Club Internet was acquired by Deutsche Telekom while the media part remained with Hachette, or in the case of Infosource, whose networking business was bought by Belgacom.