ERF Wireless (OTC.BB:ERFW), a leading provider of enterprise-class wireless and broadband products and services, announced today that its ERF Enterprise Network Services subsidiary (ENS) has finished deploying a BranchNet and BankNet encrypted enterprise-class wireless banking network for First Federal Bank of Louisiana that spans almost the entire western region of Louisiana from Lake Charles in the south to Natchitoches in the north.
This network provides more than 280 miles of continuous network coverage with the most disparate branch locations being approximately 140 miles apart encompassing some of the most difficult rain and foliage regions in the United States. The construction of this network has been a real mix of engineering skill as well as perseverance since it has been under construction for more than two years and construction even continued with minor interruptions through two major hurricanes in the region. This high-speed broadband network connects all 14 of First Federal's current branch locations with their Operations Center and is ERF Wireless' largest bank project to date. The BankNet network backbone portion, which is owned by ERF Wireless and generates recurring revenue, provides speeds that range from 20 Mbps up to 100 Mbps, with an average of approximately 18 Mbps, delivered over the bank-owned BranchNet portion of the network going to each branch location.
According to Jim Fazende, COO for First Federal Bank, "It's extremely important to continually evolve the most cost-effective and efficient banking services for our customers. New banking applications require more bandwidth and necessitate real-time transmission." Mr. Fazende continued, "This secure wireless network not only provides speeds that accommodate the latest technologies, but it also allows us to be more innovative in the way we will conduct business going forward. We also like the fact that we now own and control our own communications network."
"We're excited about what this network means to both First Federal Bank of Louisiana and the State of Louisiana as a whole," said Dr. H. Dean Cubley, CEO of ERF Wireless. "In addition, to bringing broadband capabilities to the bank's branch locations in remote regions of Louisiana, excess capacity will be provided to commercial and residential customers in those areas under our WiNetTM contract with the bank. The northernmost part of this network also borders another network that ERF Wireless is currently constructing, as recently announced, for our Oil and Gas Division in the Haynesville Shale region of northwestern Louisiana. The BankNet portion of the First Federal network will also serve as part of the emergency back-up communications system for the State of Louisiana in the event of a major natural disaster, under our existing contract with the Louisiana State Police. The completion of this network is another step forward in our ongoing business plan for this area. It's very rewarding to see a network come to fruition that provides everything and more that the customer desires in terms of bandwidth and the associated technology it enables. I believe that the bank is pleased with this network as they have recently ordered an addition to the network for a new branch that they are adding."
As with all banking customers, the new First Federal network is secured by ERF Wireless' patent-pending CryptoVue system, providing industry standard integrity and security of the system. "I'll be the first to admit that we faced a number of challenges in the construction and activation of this network, but by bringing in the right resources and expertise, we were able to meet these challenges and provide a very reliable network with route redundancy and scalability built in," said Jay Bilden, Senior Vice President of Engineering for ERF Wireless. "This network was only possible as a result of the dedication and expertise of the ERF Wireless team of staff, crews and subcontractors. Now begins the fun phase of the project... watching as the bank develops a plan to use all of that bandwidth."