Tallahassee Democrat | September 22, 2017
The tallest thing on businessman DeVoe Moore’s property at the Tallahassee Automobile Museum is not an oak tree or a billboard these days, but a communications tower. Moore and business partner Freddie Figgers, a software engineer with 16 years in the profession, are introducing this market’s newest wireless telecommunication services, which they have dubbed D&F Communications. “We have been talking about it for some time. Matter of fact, we had our first permitting meeting on Nov. 10, 2010,” Moore recalled. Sixteen and a half months later, the tower permit was approved and construction got started. The goal was to create a Tallahassee-based company that could provide wireless broadband Wi-Fi service to customers on the go. The Internet service works with personal computers, Macs or any Wi-Fi enabled device, including iPads, tablets, smartphones or netbooks, Figgers said. “We are ready for business,” Moore said. “We have people begging us to get on the system.” D&F has various plans starting at $19.99 a month and there is no contract and no limits on data transmissions. Consumers can purchase one of the company’s “Mi-Fi” mobile hotspots capable of connecting up to 10 Wi-Fi enabled devices simultaneously. The Mi-Fi is about the size of a credit card and is rechargeable. The company also offers cell phone service using 4G LTE technology. “It’s the latest and last version of this technology,” Figgers said of LTE, which stands for “long-term evolution.” Customers can use any device they wish for the cell service and there’s no contract involved. The basic plan, priced at $20 a month, includes 1,000 minutes, 1,000 text or multimedia messages, 30 megabytes of data transfer and 411 calls at no extra charge. “We have had a very positive customer response,” Figgers said. The tower, which at its top is 270 feet above sea level, is tall enough that any device within 40 miles can establish a connection. In about 2.7 seconds, the system switches the customer over to a microwave satellite network for the access to the Internet. The roaming feature appealed to Tom Carlson, senior vice president with Seminole Boosters Inc. “It’s unbelievable what he has been able to do, basically,” Carlson said of his friend Moore. “You are able to compete with the big boys.” Even on trips out of town and stops in remote areas, Carlson said he has still had Internet access with his hotspot card. “I have had it numerous places and I kept telling DeVoe the only place that it didn’t work was in North Carolina in a hotel room.” In that instance, Carlson concluded that electronic shielding of incoming signal was being used so guests would have to rely on the hotel’s in-house service. Moore is best known as a local real estate investor and owner of the Tallahassee Automobile Museum. He is an ardent supporter of Florida State University, where the University Center building was named after him as part of the expansion of Doak Campbell Stadium. “Freddie came out to see if he could do a little Internet work at the old museum,” Moore said. That was six years ago. They began discussing the idea of a wireless broadband Internet service, and Figgers provided the technical expertise in software architecture and system engineering to get the venture going. Figgers started repairing computers when he was still a youngster and had a thriving IT business by the time he was 12.