The Free Republic of Liberland, a self-proclaimed nation, has unveiled plans to solar and hydro energy to power a wireless Internet service.
Situated on the Croatian-Serbian border, Liberland occupies terra nulius – territory that’s unclaimed by either side, a hangover of the Yugoslavian war.
Vit Jedlicka, Liberland’s self-styled President, is a Czech politician who has also served as CEO of HKfree, a community wireless broadband project based in the city of Hradec Králové.
Jedlicka hopes that HKfree will be able to provide his new project with a fast internet connection for all its citizens – ‘thousands’ of people have already applied for citizenship, despite it not being officially recognised by any legitimate country yet.
While Liberland only covers around four miles, the territory crucially has access to the river Danube. It’s here that Jedlicka hopes to set up hydroelectric dams that will, amongst other things, power an Internet service.
While such a feat of engineering will take time to set up (if Liberland ever gets that far), in the short term, Liberlandians will get their juice from the sun.
Speaking to Vice’s tech blog Motherboard, Jedlicka said: “It’s a totally practical thing. In the Czech Republic, they have the most solar power per capita in the whole world, and there are 50 days of [sunshine] in the whole year.
“I’m a fan of solar power when it makes sense. If there’s another source of power, like a nuclear power plant, it’s nonsense. It just makes sense, because we are unable to connect to the grid.”
At the time of writing, the glorious state of Liberland features just one building (see above) a ruined structure which Jedlicka and his supporters hope to renovate soon. Liberland promises to woo businesses with the promise of no taxation and as little regulation as possible and wants to encourage data havens and server farms.
Coming on like a cross between Transnistria, Galt’s Gulch Chile and Sealand – arguably the poster child for micronations – Liberland at a first glance seems like it won’t last one winter.
So much of its economic model depends on getting fast Internet connections up and running. The Sealand-based data haven project HavenCo seriously started to nosedive after the company supplying it with a fibre optic connection went bust, forcing HavenCo to switch to a much slower satellite link up.
If the solar panels and dams don’t start pumping out enough power in time, it could be the Facebook-led Internet.org project that comes to Liberland’s rescue.
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