Google Fiber, the search giant’s internet, TV, and phone provider, has agreed to acquire Webpass to boost its deployment of high-speed internet.
“By joining forces, we can accelerate the deployment of superfast internet connections for customers across the U.S.,” Webpass’ founder Charles Barr writes in a blog post. “Webpass will remain focused on rapid deployment of high-speed internet connections for residential and commercial buildings, primarily using point-to-point wireless.”
You likely haven’t heard of Webpass before — that’s because they’re a small-time ISP, or internet service provider, that only operates in a few cities including San Francisco, Oakland, San Diego, Miami, Chicago, and Boston. Along with providing internet to businesses, Webpass offers it in residential buildings with more than 10 units. What makes them different is that they don’t require a modem — data jacks are installed at your outlets, and all you need to do is plug in an Ethernet cable from the jack to your laptop or computer and you’ll get high-speed internet access. If you want wireless service, you’ll have to purchase your own router.
The speeds you get are dependent on the building you’re in, but it will range from 100mbps to a gigabit per second. Installation is free, but the monthly plan costs $60 and an annual plan is $550.
The acquisition by Google Fiber is set to close this summer, but Google has only commented on the deal via a tweet. A source familiar to the matter tells Digital Trends that Webpass will stay separate from Google Fiber for now.
“Today, Webpass has tens of thousands of customers across five major markets in the U.S., and we hope to reach many more in our next chapter with Google Fiber,” Burr writes. “Webpass will continue to grow its service in current operational cities of San Francisco, Oakland, Emeryville (California), Berkeley, San Diego, Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables (Florida), Chicago, and Boston, adding to Google Fiber’s growing list of operational cities.”
Google Fiber is currently available in major cities such as Kansas City, in both Missouri and Kansas; Austin, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; and more. You’ll find names of all the available cities here, as well as prospective cities the company is considering expansion into, including Chicago and Dallas.
At a recent shareholder’s meeting of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, Inc. Chairmain Eric Schmidt unveiled plans to test wirelessly beaming internet into people’s homes — without the need to dig “up your garden” to lay fiber cables. All that would be required is a device in the home to receive wireless signals, but the speeds would match Google Fiber’s promise of a gigabit per second.
The Webpass acquisition deal positions Google to grow faster as an ISP — and that’s good for Google. More people on high-speed internet means potentially more users for Google services.