There used to be 7000 or so ISP's back in the early days (circa 2002). Regulations, competition, and consolidation changed much of that. However, we still have ISP's delivering great service to the underserved in America.
One such story is the Mammoth Networks history that their CEO, Brian Worthen, spoke about at his keynote last month at the Service Provider Summit.
Now we have another ISP in an interview about running a BBS back in 1984 by the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
And although I can't find the write-up Tampa's own Rapid Systems has been having tremendous success rolling out broadband to Hardee County.