Google beefs up Fiber with Webpass gobble

Chocolate Factory kills any doubts about its national ISP intentions

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Google has acquired fellow ISP Webpass in a move designed to expand the reach of its high-speed Fiber service.

The deal will give Google yet another way to deliver its internet service to additional markets in the US, specifically those in apartment buildings in markets where Google does not already have cable laid.

Webpass specializes in providing internet access to customers in apartment buildings and units with multiple tenants, as well as businesses.

The Webpass network connects a building via a wireless network built from hardware installed on the roof of the unit. The service can be built into the wiring of any unit constructed after 1995, though Webpass is also able to bolt the hardware onto older units with some rewiring.

The company offers its service in the San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego, Chicago, Boston and Miami.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close later this summer.

"Google Fiber and Webpass share a commitment to creating fast, abundant Internet connectivity in the US," Webpass president Charles Barr said.

"By joining forces, we can accelerate the deployment of superfast Internet connections for customers across the US. Webpass will remain focused on rapid deployment of high-speed Internet connections for residential and commercial buildings, primarily using point-to-point wireless."

For Google, the deal could open up millions of additional customers without having to contend with local governments.

Because Webpass operates as a wireless carrier in large part, little upfront investment will need to be made. Conventionally, Google has been faced with either paying to lay down the cable itself or purchasing an existing municipal network when it wants to bring Fiber to a new city.

Both of these methods require extensive cooperation with local and state governments, something the Mountain View ads giant hasn't always found to be an easy task. Conversely, the Webpass acquisition will allow Google to forego those hurdles and instantly give itself a presence in major markets like San Francisco and Boston.

Webpass, meanwhile, says it will continue to offer its existing internet service to current customers. ®

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