ERF Wireless has submitted a $24.6 million first-round Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) loan/grant application to be used in Louisiana and parts of eastern Texas under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The money will be used for “a ‘last-mile’ application that covers more than 50 service areas in the most rural and economically challenged regions of these states with a population size in the regions covered of approximately 591,346,” said Dr. Dean Cubley, CEO of ERF Wireless.

The company made the move because its core mission is to outfit rural American with broadband. In addition, broadband services in these communities would benefit public safety, health care, education and economic development, as well as the general population, Cubley said. In fact, the company currently is under contract with the Louisiana state police to build a large network in the state. The public and private networks will interface, so the state police and other local and regional public-safety agencies can have network access that will span the state and eastern part of Texas, he said.

“They will primarily use it for information, such as voice and video cameras at strategic towers,” he said. “Data is sent via the network back to state police headquarters.”

Grant funds would be primarily used for infrastructure, Cubley said.

“This is an area that doesn’t have much in existing infrastructure,” he said. “There are a few small telephone companies in that service the area with T1 lines but broadband is something that is going to have to be brought from a distance and the backbone into that area has to be first constructed then the distribution — the last mile — to the individual users.”