I’m currently wrapping up after having given a presentataion on changing the world in Novi Sad, Serbia. To my astonishment, the city has a fully-built city-wide wifi without login.
I always enjoy traveling East Europe, as the cities and environments are so asymmetrical compared to West Europe. For instance, I walked around the entire city center yesterday trying to buy a mouse for my laptop, to no avail. There simply weren’t any electronics stores at all.
However, what I did find was even more amazing. Despite not having any visible consumer electronics, there is a city-wide wifi with the name GradNoviSad — meaning The City of Novi Sad — that does present you with a splash screen, but does not require any identity or credentials. The splash, I guess, is an attempt to say a polite “Hi and thank you for using Novi Sad’s network”.
Apart from being a very sound infrastructure investment, with the best imaginable bang for the buck, this is the best imaginable whistleblower cover and protection against corruption. Letting anybody be able to post anything from anywhere in the city anonymously is one of the best ways there is to keep elected leaders and civil servants accountable for how they serve the public.
Plus, of course, it’s tip-of-the-spear infrastructure.
Novi Sad, you’re doing it right.