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Local techies start new business

Bill Fischer was bothered when he and his friend J.P. LaMere settled in Duluth to use Internet technology, but couldn't find an alternative to having a Tl line which is a dedicated point-to-point line.

Bill Fischer was bothered when he and his friend J.P. LaMere settled in Duluth to use Internet technology, but couldn't find an alternative to having a Tl line which is a dedicated point-to-point line.
Fischer wanted to market to area businesses that needed to move vast amounts of data in record time.
"After exhaustive research, I decided that fixed wireless was the best answer in rural communities," Fischer said.
Finding that the only existing technology in the area involved dial-up connections, they set about looking for another answer to develop their business idea.
The team chose a low-tech solution to a high-tech problem. They started building an infrastructure, the first part of which is a receiver on the top of the Meierhoff water tower.
"Basically, it transmits a radio signal. The businesses that can see it can use it," Bill Fischer, principal in Superior Broadband, said.
The infrastructure, still in the making, soon came to include antennas in Superior, in Cloquet and on top of Spirit Mountain.
The technology is comparable to high speed DSL. Cable is not used, antennas are.
"Fixed wireless was developed during World War II. It is unlicensed and unregulated," Fischer said.
The technology will surpass wire line as the dominant method of communications worldwide by the year 2008, according to Ernst & Young Consulting.
When Superior Broadband built in the Duluth-Superior market, it was the fourth market in the United States to acquire fixed wireless. Now, there are more than 300 markets that have been built out with fixed wireless.
The issue is speed. The local infrastructure being built one antenna at a time by Superior Broadband is seven times faster than a T1 line, DSL or cable connection, according to Toby Nortcliffe, research guru at Superior Broadband.
The wireless technology has internal and external applications. For internal use, buildings that are unable to be retrofitted for wire can utilize wireless solutions.
"It allows people to go anywhere in the building they wish to go," Nortcliffe said.
"This technology has great potential in Duluth, because of all the old buildings with old wiring," said Neal Oberg, general manager of Murphy McGinnis Interactive.
The other application, external, can achieve greater than DSL speeds and is more secure than standard cable. It is providing telecommunications services to businesses in the area.
Superior Broadband currently has 30 business clients in the Duluth-Superior area. Some of them, real estate businesses, find the speed helps in an office situation where every desk has a high speed connection.
"It used to be that there'd just be a few dial-up connections in an office, but now everyone has to have the high speed access at their desk," Fischer said.
Oberg said his company used the Superior Broadband backbone for a live cam Superior Broadband had used at the Snowcross event.
"It was very speedy," Oberg said.

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