Monticello council considering FiberNet management change


City leaders have scheduled a special meeting Monday afternoon (March 10) to consider broadband management services options for FiberNet Monticello.

City Administrator Jeff O’Neill told the Monticello Times this week that the special meeting has been called to review proposals and options available for operating the city-owned broadband network that offers high speed Internet, cable television and telephone services.

While the city is currently receiving billing and operational assistance service from Cleveland, Ohio-based FiberConnect and Mark Pultusker, FiberNet’s current general manager, O’Neill said the council will review a new management proposal presented by Brian Estrem, a partner in the Stillwater-based company U-Reka Broadband Ventures, LLC, and Dan Olson, the current general manager of WindowNet, a municipal fiber network that serves Windom and provides support to 11 other municipalities in southern Minnesota through a joint powers agreement.

“Brian Estrem and Dan Olsen are submitting a proposal Monday for assisting Monticello in operating the system,” O’Neill stated in an email. Doug Lyseng, an independent information technology consultant who has been working with the city of Monticello for nearly 20 years, was copied on a recent meeting notification email, O’Neill confirmed.

“[Lyseng] was included in the email because his knowledge of the city and its technology would be beneficial in any FiberNet transition.” According to O’Neill, the city’s next steps regarding any FiberNet Monticello management change will be dependent on the outcome of Monday’s special meeting, which is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m.

“Mr. Estrem and Mr. Olsen have provided administrative support for the operation of FiberNet Monticello,” O’Neill said.  “Their work is in tandem with [Mark] Pultusker’s operation of the billing and internal communication system.”  The city council will decide the best way to integrate the talents of all the capable individuals interested in providing service tomorrow and in the future, O’Neill said, adding that Lyseng will continue to operate as a city contractor.

According to O’Neill, after its special meeting Monday the council will review proposals which could lead to an authorization for staff to negotiate a contract with one or more individuals, which include Estrem and Olsen.

Watch next week’s print and online editions of the Monticello Times for updates regarding management of FiberNet.