Starting a modern ISP has a high barrier to entry. It requires networking equipment, broadband data lines and start-up capital, not to mention the city and state government paperwork involved with installing the lines. If you want to use wireless waves, you will have to deal with the FCC, and it isn't cheap. In 2008, the FCC auctioned 700MHz wireless blocks worth billions of dollars to AT&T and Verizon. Starting a virtual ISP is much easier. A virtual ISP is a process by which you sell access to networking equipment and Internet data lines that somebody else owns.
See which ISPs in your area have a reseller program, a private label or a virtual ISP program--all are terms for the same thing. This is where you use the ISP's Internet lines and sell the service as your own.
Sign up for one of the reseller programs. There shouldn't be any costs to sign up as a reseller. The main company charges you, but you charge your customers with your own billing paperwork, so you can make a profit.
Visit people in the neighbourhood and see whether they are interested in signing up for your ISP.
When you find a new customer, help them get set up. Provide your customers with the equipment and instructions that you have rebranded with your name from the main company. While there is no equipment to resell dial-up Internet, for broadband services such as DSL you will have to lease or purchase the modems. Pass this cost on to the customer.
See which ISPs in your area have an affiliate program. An affiliate program is where the ISP pays you to obtain new customers. Although this isn't exactly becoming an ISP, you can make a lot of money representing one, and no networking infrastructure is required.
Find potential customers from the phone book. Look in areas with slow Internet service. Take phone numbers for houses or businesses from the phone book, then call broadband ISPs and ask if that number is available for installation of their service. If the broadband ISP you called cannot provide broadband service to that number and your affiliate ISP can, pitch them your service.
Call potential customers and ask if they are interested in having faster Internet service. Pitch them your service with your referral information and make a profit.
When you find a new customer, help him get the new service. The particular affiliate program you joined determines what you do from here. Some let you provide an Internet website link with your personal sales code in it to give to the customer. Others request the new customer give your e-mail as a reference when he signs up, and some let you fill out the request for installation as the only work done on your part.