Google Fiber Buys Webpass in Wireless Play

Google Fiber has revealed plans to buy a San Francisco-based gigabit player called Webpass in a move that could support efforts to develop high-speed services based on fixed-wireless technologies.

Webpass claims to provide gigabit-speed services to "tens of thousands" of customers in the major US urban markets of San Francisco, Oakland, San Diego, Miami, Chicago and Boston. It owns its own Ethernet network and relies heavily on point-to-point wireless technology to provide services.

Google Fiber Inc. announced plans to enter the US broadband market in 2010 and is now "live" in the five cities of Atlanta, Austin, Kansas City, Provo and Nashville. Although its progress has been slow, the company has spurred other broadband players, including municipalities, to enter the gigabit fray.

The takeover of Webpass -- the financial terms of which were not disclosed -- will allow Google to expand quickly into markets where it has yet to launch wireline services. Google had previously earmarked the cities of Chicago, San Diego and San Francisco as either "upcoming" or "potential" fiber cities.

What makes the deal particularly interesting, however, is the point-to-point wireless technology that Webpass uses.

So far, Google has been using fiber-to-the-home technology to provide high-speed broadband services to consumers and businesses. But during a shareholder meeting of owner Alphabet Inc. earlier this month, Eric Schmidt, Alphabet's executive chairman, suggested that fixed-wireless technologies could have a big impact on Google Fiber's business.

The rollout of gigabit broadband access networks is spreading. Find out what's happening where in our dedicated Gigabit Cities content channel here on Light Reading.

"There appear to be wireless solutions that are point to point that are inexpensive now because of the improvements in semiconductors; that these point to point solutions are cheaper than digging up your garden… and can carry the gigabit performance," said Schmidt, as reported by Light Reading. (See Alphabet Wants to Network the Nation's Cities.)

The Webpass deal was announced in a Twitter post late yesterday. In a statement on the company's website, Webpass President Charles Barr said that by "joining forces" with Google Fiber the operator would be able to "accelerate the deployment of superfast Internet connections for customers across the US."

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

The transaction is expected to close in the summer, subject to normal approvals from state and federal competition and regulatory authorities.

— Iain Morris, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, News Editor, Light Reading

PublicEd48830 7/1/2016 | 12:37:28 AM
Re: Wireless Kills wireless is different than any other toxin.  scientists and health researchers studying non ionizing radiation consider it to be the most dangerous threat to human health ever.  exposure is constant and cumulative.  effects all living cells.  not like tobaco or other substances that can be mediated.  we cannot escape it and it threatens the integrity of all future generations.  www.wirelesswatchblog.org/science
brooks7 6/30/2016 | 10:59:23 PM
Re: Wireless Kills  

We all make tradeoffs around what risks we take in our life.  That is the point.  So, before we turn off wireless we probably should end all smoking and drinking.  When we do that, we could probably look at wireless.  At least it has positive value as well as negative.  Being drunk...not so much.


PublicEd48830 6/30/2016 | 6:29:14 PM
Re: Wireless Kills That's great !!  There is no argument to that other than mitigating environmental insults that hasten the process.  That would make a good bumper sticker.  More objections to your premise than anthing else I would imagine.  Still, you should check out:  http://www.wirelesswatchblog.org/science for some information about a mitigating factor known as pulsed radio frequency microwave radiation.
brooks7 6/30/2016 | 5:31:34 PM
Re: Wireless Kills 100% of deaths are caused by birth and nobody seems to object to that.


PublicEd48830 6/30/2016 | 1:20:56 AM
Wireless Kills Does anybody care that microwave radiation kills?  It doesn't seem like it as everybody is completely drunk and oblivious to this little fact:  tired of wasting time on these blogs.  check out:  http://www.wirelesswatchblog.org
danielcawrey 6/25/2016 | 2:37:01 PM
Re: Sniff Test Wireless is obviously the future - many devices these days don't even have an Ethernet port anymore. 

This is a smart play by Google. If the company is able to become the frontrunner in wireless services over incumbents, there is huge opportunity. 
brooks7 6/24/2016 | 12:17:29 PM
Re: Sniff Test Kbode,

I couldn't find Webpass assigned any patents.  


KBode 6/24/2016 | 11:30:40 AM
Re: Sniff Test Yes I think they only serve 20,000 customers or so. Is it perhaps for the patents related to millimeter wave technology?
steve q 6/23/2016 | 10:32:33 PM
Re: Sniff Test The move that google has done hopefully open Verizon wireless eyes to what the people in Boston was looking for. But they have change their minds and move to 5g which is still testing and there are no cellphone form Samsung or any other cellphone company. Google will provide what FiOS could have done in the city of Boston that provide a better service and more option then just Comcast.
brooks7 6/23/2016 | 12:32:46 PM
Sniff Test  

So, what gain would Google Fiber actually get out of this.  Webpass has not developed special wireless technology.  The customer count can not be significant to Google Fiber (and if it is than that is another problem).  Now, I want to point something out here that is on the Webpass website (from the 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."

Note, there is some requirement for cabling as well as the product distributes Ethernet.  

So, not a panacea and requires building owners to cooperate (ask Verizon about that).


Sign In