Welcome to Tallahassee Freenet (TFN), Florida’s first community network. TFN is a volunteer organization by and for the members of our community.
It is the mission of Tallahassee Free-Net (TFN) to foster a vibrant, safe, free internet community serving the Greater Tallahassee metropolitan area, including southwest Georgia and southeast Alabama, through providing both comprehensive community information for this region as well as offering basic internet communication tools and services in the form of free webpage spaces, free email and email-based user support.
TFN is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization which relies upon the generosity of users, volunteers, and those in our community to continue operations. We welcome donations of money, labor, equipment, expertise, and sponsorships from both individuals and private enterprise. All financial contributions to TFN are tax-deductible.
We are not attempting to compete with the “big boys.” The “new” TFN intends to do what the original TFN did so well – offer a resource and knowledge platform for users who are looking for a safe, friendly, nonprofit, locally administered alternative to commercial email and information pages. We are not Google, Yahoo, or Bing…nor do we wish to be. When we say “community,” we mean it – Greater Tallahassee is our home, but the states of Florida, Georgia and Alabama are part of this community.
So, whether you are in Muscle Shoals, Atlanta, Birmingham, Key West, Tampa, Savannah, Cape Canaveral, or Americus, you are as welcome here as someone who lives in an apartment off Tennessee St. right here in good ‘ol Tally!
One of America’s Online Pioneers
In the early 1990s, Tallahassee Freenet was part of a way of free internet service providers (ISPs) which sprang forth following the success of Cleveland Freenet. When TFN first came on the scene, it was under the auspices of the Supercomputer Computational Research Institute at Florida State University. Eventually, TFN was spun off into a fully independent organization with headquarters at the Tallahassee-Leon County Public Library, offering full internet connectivity services for residents of Tallahassee and Leon County via dial-up service, and to users worldwide through TFN’s Telnet access portal. At its height, TFN was serving over 16,000 people per year through in-person support at its Tallahassee headquarters,10,000 helped per year via TFN’s Live Telephone HelpDesk, and 1,200 people per year attended internet usage and freenet operation classes sponsored and given by TFN. Additionally, Freenet programs were presented to over 500 people per year outside of the Library by Library staff and volunteers. TFN account holders were a diverse group from areas around the country.
Dark Days for TFN
As with so many organizations, TFN went through a period of transition with leadership changes. Its first Executive Director (and some would argue its founder), David “Voyager” McMurtrey, passed away in 2003. By the time of his passing, much of TFN was already falling into disuse, eclipsed by service offerings of local telephone and cable providers. In 2000, TFN was the victim of a major hack attack, when a hacker deleted all TFN files, crippling the network for several days.
With limited resources, TFN was unable to keep up with the speed requirements of its users, and volunteers eventually peeled away. Eventually, TFN itself fell victim to the byproduct of its own success. Services were pared down, and users eventually left for networks offering high speed options, such as DSL, cable and fiber. Like its sister network, Gainesville-based Alachua Freenet, TFN eventually had to yield to the market and, by 2012, the network had been shuttered.
Reborn, and now baby steps
In 2014, longtime Freenet user Jonathan Leidy inherited many of TFN’s files and data sources. After a few months of tinkering, Jon was able to relaunch the TFN mail system with existing user accounts. The current TFN site is a basic launch page for this rebirth, and it is our goal to honor the legacy of Tallahassee Freenet’s first incarnation.