As I have said earlier in this thread, my parents have retired to the family farm nestled in a valley in the foothills of the Appalachians. When my Mom was a little girl, she remembers the farm being linked to the outside world via rural telephone and rural electrification programs. No such program has existed for internet or cell service, so they have limited to no access to these services.
The projects which brought the electricity and phone lines were impressive top-down accomplishments. That said, when power or phone go out for them these days, it usually takes a week to get them back up and running. The reason is they are the literally last on the line of the electric and telecommunications spurs, and low priority as a result. Both lines are carried on the same poles, so there are literally dozens of potential single point failures running down the side of the dirt road leading to their house. A fallen tree branch, a careless driver, a lightning strike. All these things could knock them out for potentially weeks as the companies pull new line, or put up new poles.
They have backup generators, and can sometimes get a cell signal if they climb to the top of the hill behind their house, but their situation is becoming more precarious as they fast approach their 80’s. They are considering turning the farm over to me and my siblings, and moving into a retirement community in a nearby larger town. I will get the house, as I am the only one living within a hundred miles of them (my siblings and I were actually born and raised out of state, and I coincidentally moved back to the state even before they retired, to go to college). It would make a nice retreat on weekends, and I would eventually like to retire there myself, and I have plans to go, “off grid,” but still maintain modern amenities.
My point…its not just developing nations which can benefit from a decentralized approach to electrification and communication. My parents considered options when they first moved back, but cost the was prohibitive, and the existing system just good enough, to not warrant the endeavour. For someplace without existing, “just good enoigh,” service, the cost of decentralized systems becomes less of a factor.