I know, it seems like a silly question to ask. Of course, the internet matters. Probably more than ever! I’d argue that for most people the only thing that actually matters is the ISP they’re connected to and the big content providers. It turns out that efficiently fetching content over long distances is a hard problem to solve. Paying for upstream transit might be even harder. How do we fix this? Move the content to the internet edge near the consumers! With the advent of CDNs, internet exchanges and content providers willingness to peer, the popular content is closer to consumers than ever. Most of the content is probably reachable while only transiting your ISPs network.
I spent some time poking around with traceroute and the BGP Toolkit provided by Hurricane Electric with focus on IPv4. I found the results astounding. The only popular website site I tested that is not directly reachable via my home ISP is routingloop.net (ha-ha I got jokes). Let’s pick Akamai as an example. Here is Hurricane Electric’s BGP peering report for AS20940, Akamai International B.V. According to this report they have IPv4 BGP peering with over 600 autonomous systems! My home ISP is listed. Let’s see Hurricane Electric’s data on Fastly. Over 400 ASes! Even if your ISP is not peering with these CDNs, it is possible that they are learning routes to popular sites from internet exchange route servers. I suspect that is the case for my ISP and Fastly. I do not see my home ISP in the HE IPv4 peers table, but I can reach popular ecommerce sites that use Fastly’s CDN without transiting any other ISP’s network.
Sites and CDNs reachable by only transiting my home ISP:
I encourage you to check this out for yourself and your ISP. Unless you’re using a smaller regional ISP, I bet your findings will be similar. Feel free to contact me at email@example.com if you have any questions or feedback.