Consultant pushy about cheaper, faster Internet

PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER TOMLINSON—Michael Swisher and other consultants around the West with Data Flow Technologies are working on what Swisher said is a different approach to boosting the speed of the Internet and extending it the “last mile” into the most isolated parts of the country.



The Internet, however pervasive it might be, is more sluggish than might be expected, says a Grand Junction man laboring to speed it up and extend its reach.

“We have not had a doubling of speed in the Internet in 10 years,” said Michael Swisher, a consultant with a high-tech startup, Data Flow Technologies Inc.

Worse still is the failure of current technology to tug the Internet that elusive “last mile,” into the most isolated parts of the country, Swisher said.

One effort aimed at pushing the Internet into rural territory where cell towers are as rare as laptops and iced, double-mocha lattes is running afoul of existing technology, he said. The technology used by LightSquared Inc., another startup with backing from well-connected hedge-fund honcho Philip Falcone, interferes with the nation’s Global Positioning System, in particular the signals needed to direct precise, military-grade equipment, including armaments, to the cop on the beat relying on GPS to follow up on a call.

LightSquared is unlikely to resolve its technical issues, which are complicated by a swirl of political problems tied to complaints that White House officials tried to influence a general into soft-pedaling the GPS question, Swisher said.

Data Flow Technologies, which has offices in Salt Lake City and associates around the West, including Swisher in Grand Junction and others in Carson City, Nev., doesn’t have those kinds of entanglements, but it does have a different approach to the “last mile” and speed issue, he said.

Built into the signal is the equivalent of Department of Defense protection level-5 encryption, Swisher said.

It’s high-tech, to be sure, but low frequency, the kind of signal that can penetrate rock and houses and can carry data a long way, Swisher said. Data Flow’s technology can operate on any frequency “and does extremely well with low frequency,” he said.

That means Data Flow Technology can offer coverage with one-fourth the number of towers and other equipment that LightSquared anticipates, Swisher said. In practical terms, that means its costs are 75 percent less, he said.

If LightSquared Inc.‘s approach is nixed by the Federal Communications Commission — Swisher insisted it’s more a question of when — the door will open for Data Flow Technologies, he said.

Venture capitalists have shown interest in Data Flow Technologies, but only for the purpose of wresting away control, Swisher said, referring to the group generally as “vulture capitalists.”

Swisher, who operated tech companies in Glenwood Springs before moving to Grand Junction six years ago, said he and the company are looking for investors who will let them run the business where they feel most comfortable.

Data Flow Technologies could help refire the American economy in more than just extending bandwidth, he said.

If given the opportunity, he wants Data Flow to manufacture only in the United States for five years, forcing the rest of the world to look, again, to Uncle Sam, for technical know-how and leadership.

More to the point, he said, he wants the company to operate out of Grand Junction.

“I want that to be here,” Swisher said. “I want to keep the money in this area as much as possible.”

That’s why he doesn’t want to release the technology to a major corporation, which simply would outsource production and move the economic impetus of a new technology to some other country, Swisher said.

With Interstate 70, Grand Junction Regional Airport and the railroad, Grand Junction is a perfect location for a high-tech telecommunications industry, he said.

It also needs more than oil and gas to drive the economy, he said.

Data Flow Technology is preparing a private-placement memo, he said. A private-placement memorandum is subject to the Securities Act of 1933, but not necessarily registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

It’s a ground-floor opportunity, Swisher said, “to get into the biggest play in the history of telecommunications.”

Swisher can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or at 970-456-9072.


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