Wooooooo................a long list, but this is just some
T-1 or fractional T-1 Internet connection from one of the Bells, UUNet or some other local provider.
PRI or Channelized T-1 to bring the dialup customers to you so that you can get them to the internet. Each PRI or Channelized T-1 can support 23 or 24 phone lines depending on configuration.
You need a NAS (Network Access Server) such as a Ascend Max or Cisco. Lots of good used equipment available on the open market. This equipment will accept one or two PRIs or Channelized T-1s and a NAS control access of users getting to the Internet using a protocol called radius.
You will need at least 2 decent sized servers running Red Hat Linux or other version of Linux. Red Hat has about 90% of the software that is needed to run an ISP. While it is possible to run an ISP using Windows servers, the cost is MUCH greater than Linux and Windows only comes with about 50% of the software needed to run an ISP and the rest has to be purchased as there are no Open Source equivelants as in the Linux world (which means FREE). Pentium 3 1 Ghz or better with 256 or 512 meg of memory. PC hardware is cheap now so dont skimp.
You will have to learn how these major software packages work because they are totally essential to the operation of an ISP. If you are not a tech you will have to hire someone on your staff to keep everything running.
TCP/IP - Protocol used by the Internet.
DNS - Domain Name Service - This is the Yellow pages of the Internet and resolves easy to remember names into IP addresses.
EMAIL - You need to understand a mail package like SENDMAIL (comes with most linux?s) and protocols such as POP3 , IMAP, and SMTP and how they work.
Firewalls - need to understand Linux security and how to keep hackers and leechers at bay.
RADIUS - This is the protocol used to authenticate dial in users into your NAS against your user/password list. You can get a free open source copy of radius server at: http://www.freeradius.org/
BILLING Package - Most important is keeping track of who owes you money and having the ability to shut users off (automatically) if they do not pay. There are various packages out there but a good low cost alternative is available at: http://www.sisd.com/freeside/
MRTG: Excellent program that is used to monitor your bandwidth and lets you know when your peaks are and when you need to get more bandwidth. Available at: http://people.ee.ethz.ch/~oetiker/webtools/mrtg/
Where to get help? Subscribe to many of the ISP related mailing lists as possible. Most ISPs are very helpful and will assist since they were probably helped along the way by someone in a mailing list when they were just starting out.
Another good way to learn about ISPs is to work at one for a while and learn as much as you can. There is no school to teach this to you. You have to do a lot of on-the-job training.
Last point. Being an ISP is not an easy way to make money, but its great if you want to be your own boss and have a technical inclination.