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Business Observer Friday, Dec. 5, 2003 18 years ago

Runner-Up xG Technology LLC

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xG's radio wave-based technology promises faster, cheaper and geographically broader data transmission than any current method.

Runner-Up xG Technology LLC

xG's radio wave-based technology promises faster, cheaper and geographically broader data transmission than any current method.

By Kendall Jones

Senior Editor

Joe Bobier is just your average electronics and technology genius savant. Armed only with an FCC radio license he earned in naval training and experience working in his father's electronics business, Bobier may have invented one of the most significant communications transmission technologies of the century.

xG Technology is based on modulation and encoding technology that transforms ordinary AM and FM radio wave frequencies into the fastest and cheapest method of data transmission for telecommunications, mass media broadcasts, Internet transmission and downloading, etc.

The story began in Parkersburg, W.Va., where Bobier grew up. After he left the U.S. Navy, Bobier returned to work at the family business. He expanded the business into solar energy, and owns several patents relating to the paging and photovoltaic industries.

In the late 1990s, before anyone ever uttered the term "WiFi," Bobier turned his hometown into a wireless community, deploying a 2.4 GHz city-wide wireless network in Parkersburg to deliver high-speed Internet access to subscribers. As the result of the project, Bobier saw the shortcomings of WiFi, especially compared to the VHF and UHF narrow-band communications systems with which he had become familiar while in the Navy. Specifically, compared to radio waves, the wireless networks lacked in throughput, range, building penetration, efficiency and cost. That realization fueled Bobier's drive to find a new way to deliver wireless broadband that could have the reach, reliability, speed and affordability of radio.

He came up with the technology, xG, in 1999. While reading about quantum mechanics late one night, Bobier says he suddenly saw the connection between information and radio waves: "The least amount of information we can represent is one bit of data and, coincidentally, the least amount of radio signal we can have is a single radio wave or sine wave. I realized that if I could devise the circuitry, I could transmit vast amounts of information in the smallest possible channel width by simply maintaining that fundamental one bit/one radio cycle relationship. In fact, since the data rate could be so high, I would now be free to use lower radio frequencies and gain the benefits of throughput, range, ubiquitous coverage and affordability I had been seeking."

Bobier connected with Sarasota's Mooers Branton & Co., a merchant bank owned by Rick Mooers and Roger Branton that invests in technology companies.

Mooers Branton had previously purchased a few companies from the Bobier family and they were familiar with Bobier's talents as an inventor. Mooers Branton set up an independent research and development lab for Bobier in Sarasota, where Bobier moved his family in late 1999. The lab exists solely for Bobier to focus on new inventions, with xG being the first one. In exchange, Mooers Branton became the majority owner of xG Technology.

During the last couple of years, xG Technology has deliberately put the technology under the industry microscope. Much to the shock of industry experts, the xG technology can transmit data 20 times faster than traditional methods, in both wired and wireless environments. "At first, the xG claims may seem extraordinary, but the results have been validated by many experts, including physicists, mathematicians and engineers," says Branton, also chief operating officer of the company. "Implementing xG will allow us to create very fast and wide area digital wireless data networks for the delivery of Internet, private and government data. In addition, cable TV and DSL lines will be able to greatly increase their capacity through simple low cost upgrades."

As one company representative wrote in its nomination of xG Technology for the Innovation Awards: "Bottom line, telecommunications carriers, broadcast organizations - anyone sending large amounts of data - will soon be able to use their current phone lines, cellular systems and cabling to send data 20 times faster."

The company's owners say their technology has been proven and wireless industry experts have validated their applications. They are ready for product development and commercialization. The company has teamed with European business partners, including former international Microsoft executives, to identify strategic partners and bring the technology to the market. The company is creating a showplace for its product in Stockholm, though its headquarters will remain in Sarasota. xG Technology has all its initial capital and financial backing in place, and it expects to officially launch sales in the next two to three months.

The company's innovation has gained the attention of the Gartner Group, an internationally known research agency. In its July 2003 report on wireless broadband service and technology alternatives, Gartner specifically referenced xG Technology as a company it considers a leader in the field of alternative technologies, approaching "broadband wireless implementation in unique ways."

Maybe more importantly for the future success of xG Technology, it has gained the close attention of Bear Stearns, which says it is "waiting in the wings" to make sure xG launches properly, then it plans to help the company get to the next level. One Bear Stearns representative told the Review: "xG is the first entry in this market, and it is the first innovation in 60 years to influence spectrum, or airwaves. Bandwidth and speed will no longer be an issue."

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