Matt Brunk
Matt Brunk has worked in past roles as director of IT for a multisite health care firm; president of Telecomworx,...
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Matt Brunk | April 21, 2010 |


ERF Wireless Targets Enterprise Out on the Range

ERF Wireless Targets Enterprise Out on the Range Deer and antelope are not the only things that roam out there.

Deer and antelope are not the only things that roam out there.

Deer and antelope are not the only things that roam out on the range. I spoke with Dr. H. Dean Cubley, CEO of ERF Wireless from League City, Texas. ERF Wireless is a Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP), just not a Tier I or II provider; they are one of the top ten in the US. ERF Wireless isn't limited to wireless since they've expanded their coverage by delivering FTTH to resort communities and wireless high-speed broadband to drilling and production companies for oil and gas in New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas as well as in Canada.Dean told me that ERF Wireless' business plan consists of three initiatives: acquire smaller wireless networks; target regional banks; and provide wireless broadband to gas and oil companies. ERF Wireless will also use the established proprietary CryptoVue Network Security Appliance, as a competitive advantage in the financial services industry to replace expensive T1 and telephone networks. Dean also said that, "ERF Wireless targets rural America and we are often the last mile."

The Telcos and Tier I/II carriers are still bent on mileage charges but these rack up huge costs for smaller and distributed banks as well as gas and oil companies operating throughout rural areas of the U.S.A. Today, wireless bridges the gap and ERF is doing it in a clever way that also meets regulatory compliance.

I've always been a proponent of fiber but Dean put me back on earth when he said, "FTTH/FTTC, without massive subsidies is just not cost effective." Investment in wireless instead makes more sense for operators like ERF Wireless because the cost is much lower, deployment is faster, and services are not limited to cell phones, as most people think of wireless. I also asked Dean what he thought about the FCC's goal of 100 Mbps to every household. "Ambitious and besides 100 Mbps has implication in the useable spectrum--even if 700Mhz is freed up there's still not enough useable spectrum that will propagate wirelessly."

One of the things I put down for my bucket list is to travel to Texas and meet Dean Cubley and see more of ERF Wireless. ERF Wireless is doing what is really smart and that's following the money. Not only are they following the money, but they haven't lost touch with the basic principles and theories of radio or good business sense. They've built an interesting niche market in serving the regional banking and gas and oil industries. The other thing I can no longer imagine is moving/retiring to a remote area that maintains retirement communities and there's either a lack of voice/Internet services or the costs of the services are too high. The 55+ retirement communities tend to be located in remote areas.

Last note: read Gary Audin's post Can Wireless Replace the PSTN? and then consider this; ERF Wireless I believe is doing this, just not in conventional thinking of Gary's post. The Telcos pretty much refuse to talk at the table when it comes to wireline services because they can and will dictate what they want you to pay. Had they thought of talking to one another instead of saying, our wireless is a different company or refusing to listen or entertain trunking to the cloud for WiFi as ingress or egress routes, then enterprise remains glued to the pricey wireless plans dictated by the carriers. No bundling here!

Gary also notes what Michael Finneran said, "They don't talk to each other, much less provide direct trunking--and why would they?" Sure enterprise can use leverage, but in the scheme of things until you cut the cord and strike out on your own, as ERF Wireless enterprise customers have with the cooperative support of their wireless carrier, then you'll continue to pay the price. These banks are getting a return on wireless private infrastructure investments in just three years over maintaining the old life long glued relationship to the carrier for wireline services. Sure, they still have some copper lines within their networks but not to the degree that most companies depend upon today. For those that do build their own wireless infrastructure with cooperative arrangements such as BankNet, they may find that their providers might start talking. You see, "abandonment" and "cutting the cord" isn't limited to landlines anymore.Deer and antelope are not the only things that roam out there.


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