“Less than 20 companies actually own more than 80% of the internet capacity, which is the storage and the compute,” de Spiegeleer told me. “It really needs to be something like electricity. It needs to be everywhere and everyone needs to have access to it. It needs to be cost effective, it needs to be reliable, it needs to be independent.”
You use the internet to send a message on a messaging service to a family member across town. As you click Send, the message will most likely travel across your continent and perhaps across an ocean, hit a number of companies’ servers along the way, then ping back, likely on a different route, hitting multiple other companies’ servers as well before arriving at a relatively local switch, ISP, wires, WiFi, and then making it down to your mom’s phone.
The alternative? In a mesh distributed internet, your message to mom might make a couple of hops over local computers, maybe a local ISP, and ping right down to her having traveled not much more than the straight-line distance between you and your favorite parent.