In 1997, there was this service called Wireplay in the UK.
Instead of using the Internet, you used it by directly phoning their servers with your modem from your PC, and the point of this was that it was "much faster and more reliable" than an Internet connection would be which talks to their server with the IP.
But why is this? If they still use the same modem, and the same telephone wires, why is "not using the Internet" faster and more reliable for playing (supported) games "online"? With a dial-up ISP, you would call a local telephone number, so surely that's the same thing? In fact, it sounds to me that if anything, this "Wireplay" technology would be slower unless you were lucky enough to happen to live close to their server(s).
How can this be explained? Why was this "non-Internet" Wireplay technology (which intrigues me) faster and more reliable than the Internet when you used the same infrastructure and hardware?