The Internet is the multitude of regional, national, international, and intercontinental networks now used by a large fraction of the industrialized world to exchange computer information. In the United States, most of the computer traffic is carried via regional networks to the national backbone maintained by the U.S. National Science Foundation. This makes the communication free of charge for researchers and educators. In contrast, Europe has many regional networks, and they often are maintained with a more direct expense to the users.
Despite the somewhat fragmented and at times congested nature of the Internet, it is still a vast resource of information and communication. The Internet is completely democratic, which means that bad information is presented equally with good information. Assuming that you become skilled at using the Internet, it can become a tremendous resource. For example, suppose you need a Fortran routine for factoring a sparse matrix. You could post a note to the numerical methods news group sci.math.num-analysis asking what other researchers use. A researcher from the University of Melbourne may reply, telling you about the routines available there. If your mate is feeling nice, that researcher may even tell you how to get the routines via electronic mail.
Or perhaps you are having problem with a compiler under AIX (IBM's Unix). So you post a note to the AIX news group. The chances are about equally good for you to get answers from an undergraduate at some university in Europe as they are from one of the compiler designers at IBM. Which answer is more useful is for you to decide.