The Internet is rightly lauded for having made communication between far flung lands possible, but it sometimes has another, less useful, effect. It's sometimes hard to find regional information on the Internet. Because the system typically brings people closer, it sometimes seems like people are really from everywhere at all and there is little information relevant to particular areas. The USENET still has regional servers.
USENET is very similar to the Internet in some ways and radically different in others. On the Internet, you access an Internet forum by sending a request to your ISP, which then routes you to the right server. On the USENET, your news server may or may not carry any groups that the administrator chooses. This means that servers do tend to have regional groups and that they're always accessible from everywhere. Other servers in different regions, quite simply, have no use for those groups.
The regional USENET groups did use to be more active than they are today. There is still some great information on them, however, and there are people who still follow the USENET system very closely and use it as one of their favorite ways of communicating online. If you need local information, you may find the USENET very useful for that purposes.
Understanding the Differences
The Internet and USENET do function very differently. On your USENET service, you use a news browser, which is a dedicated piece of software that allows you to subscribe to newsgroups, from which you download articles. Your USENET provider will have information regarding how you do this on your particular system.
The USENET system is text-based, so communication tend to be to the point and fast. You'll find that the people on local newsgroups will likely welcome new members and that getting questions answered will not be an issue.
Remember that there are local newsgroups for cities around the world. If you have a USENET service provider that carries them, you may want to subscribe to get city information for a trip or just to get an idea of what the place is like. Subscribing and unsubscribing is a very easy process and takes no more than a few seconds.
The USENET might be able to give you information about a part of the world in which you're interested from a very different perspective than you'd get from the Internet at large. Regional newsgroups are still alive and well!