Welcome Introduction by Peter Fleck, TECHdotMN Network Correspondent

by Peter Fleck


TECHdotMN has launched. It’s my latest blogging gig, and I’m honored to be asked to participate! I’m excited to see what we can produce as a team. Jeff Pesek and Mike Bollinger will be leading this project,  alongside: Tom Basquill (Social Correspondent), Paul Godfread (Legal Correspondent), Zach Robins (Capital/Financial correspondent), and myself as the Network Correspondent.

My objective is to cover local networks, infrastructure and governing policies. Not your LAN networks, your VPN, or your physical networking gear, but World Wide Web and Internet at large and how they play out in the local business/startup community.

The Internet has led to incredible growth for many companies over the years; in order to maintain this trajectory, we must ensure that government and private interests don’t impede progress with too many (or too few) regulations. It’s a fine line, and I hope that this blog will help in fostering awareness and dialogue about the issue. Expect content from me in the realm of: Net Neutrality, broadband maps, community hi-speed broadband access, public build-outs, politicians (their position on internet policies), digital divide / inclusion issues, and government data access.

In the end, this is TECHdotMN.  It’s not TECHdotMSP, TECHdotTwinCities or TECHdot “large urban areas”.  I hope we can help in promoting high-speed and low-cost broadband from the farmland of southern Minnesota to the lakes and mines of northern Minnesota. Startups, and the business community in general, create jobs and revenue for the state economy. We can have an impact by exploring the ways in which a high-speed broadband infrastructure can drive economic growth and foster innovation. Add a high-speed train network to our state infrastructure (to Madison and Chicago) and things could really get interesting. This is a good year to have these discussions with the governor’s office up for grabs!

This is some of what you’re going to find on my page. Those of you who have been following me over the years at the PF Hyper blog (est. 2004) already know some my biases: I support Network Neutrality and increased broadband competition including public networks in communities where the incumbent telephone and cable companies avoid deployments that won’t adequately fuel their revenue models. I followed the US Internet Wi-Fi deployment in Minneapolis and continue to provide updates on the system. (Check my bio for more information.)

I’ll leave you with some links to local blogs that I follow which report on broadband issues. First is Christopher Mitchell’s Muninetworks blog which he created for the New Rules Project of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (where he works). His recent post on “Internet as infrastructure” fits well with my beliefs. Also check out Ann Treacy who is resident blogger over at the Blandin on Broadband blog – the place for rural broadband reports.

Finally, Mike O’Connor is somewhat of a legend in Minnesota Internet history as the co-founder of gofast.net, one company that pioneered high-speed Internet access technology within our state. He was a member of the Minnesota Ultra High-Speed Broadband Task Force and blogged about the experience. He also blogs about life and other technical issues at his main site. I can thank Mike for my first ISDN broadband connection! He took on Qwest in the 90s and was able to force them to provide equal access to high-speed internet in the area and not redline (pick and choose areas by potential revenue).

That’s all for today. Stay tuned.

-Peter Fleck