Google Fiber Eyes Expansion With Webpass Buy

Google Fiber has acquired gigabit provider Webpass in an effort to roll out high-speed Internet faster.

The San Francisco-based ISP uses point-to-point wireless Ethernet as well as fiber to connect business and residential customers to speeds up to 1Gbps.

Google, meanwhile, already beams high-speed Internet to folks in Atlanta, Austin, Kansas City (Missouri and Kansas), Nashville, and Provo; more cities are slated to come online soon.

"Google Fiber and Webpass share a commitment to creating fast, abundant Internet connectivity in the US," Webpass President Charles Barr wrote in an announcement. "By joining forces, we can accelerate the deployment of superfast Internet connections for customers across the US."

Launched in 2003 "to deliver a simple high-quality Internet connection to as many people as possible," Webpass currently counts "tens of thousands" of business and residential customers in California's Bay Area, San Diego, Miami, Chicago, and Boston. Barr didn't disclose exact expansion plans, except to say that merging Webpass with Google will add to "Google Fiber's growing list of operational cities."

"Google's Fiber resources will enable Webpass to grow faster and reach many more customers than we could as a standalone company," Barr said.

Right now, Webpass focuses on apartment buildings because, as the company says in its FAQ, "it's not economical for our customers if we bring Webpass into single-family homes. Therefore, we service buildings with at least 10 units."

Not everyone is thrilled with the acquisition, though.

"Maybe some of us had chosen them [Webpass] so we DIDN'T have all our eggs in your basket," one Twitter user wrote in response to Google Fiber's announcement.

"You better not make Webpass suck!!" another commented.

In an email to existing customers, published by TechCrunch, Webpass ensured users that "nothing will change in the foreseeable future regarding the day-to-day operation of our business, your service, or pricing."

The company, which operates its own network, will continue using point-to-point wireless to deploy high-speed Internet connections. The transaction is expected to close this summer. Financial terms of the deal were not revealed.

Google did not immediately respond to PCMag's request for comment.

Google Fiber rollouts can be expensive and complex in terms of regulatory approval, so the company has recently explored partnerships in order to speed things up. In February, Google teamed up with a city-owned network in Huntsville, Alabama, where Huntsville Utilities will design and construct its network and Google Fiber — or any other broadband provider — can use it to bring high-speed Internet service to the city.

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