I'm trying to understand how ISPs agree to connect to each other by considering a hypothetical situation: Suppose I wanted to start my own ISP in a small town. Would I have to pay to connect to another network that is already connected to the internet (hence that would make me connected to the internet too, so I could provide the internet to my customers through the other network)? Since my ISP is really small, the network I connect to wouldn't get a lot of traffic coming from my ISP (in fact, I would take care of any abusers who download too much, to keep my traffic to a minimum agreed with the other network). So would the other network charge me a fee to connect to their network? What if I had one really good website hosted on my network? Say in that small town, is a company that's famous for its cookies, and they are willing to put up a website only on my ISP or no ISP at all. Would the network allow me to connect to them in order to get that one website? Would other far away networks (that have peering agreements with the network I want to connect to) pressure that network to let me on, so that everyone in the world can visit and order cookies online? (the idea I'm trying to get at is can a good website like Google, which all ISPs want to connect to, start its own ISP and get free connections to other networks, since all the other networks would want to connect to google quickly?) I would pay for all the physical cables required to connect me to the other network. But would I have to pay something in addition? Also, at internet exchange points, I've heard that 100s of ISPs can interconnect. Can anybody connect at an internet exchange point? Is it free? Can the phone or cable company pressure other networks to let me connect to them, because that way they get more business from my ISP because I still have to pay the phone and cable companies for my customers to reach my ISP (actually which way does it work: do customers have to pay the phone company and the ISP, or does the ISP have to pay the phone company and the customers just pay the ISP)?