12:20EST – An ICOA executive has stated that the press release from this morning is false, and that their company has not been purchased by Google. The Wall Street Journal reports that the ICOA Chief Executive Officer had sent them an e-mail stating that the press release from PRWeb was not correct, and that they had not been purchased, but did not elaborate on any other details. Neither PRWeb or Google has released a statement regarding this possible blunder. It remains unseen if Google is actually planning to purchase the company, and someone let the press release slip out too soon, or if the story has any merit at all. Updates will follow on AndroidHeadlines.com as they are available.
Google has confirmed its acquisition of wireless internet service provider ICOA Inc. for a price of $400 million. ICOA, based in Rhode Island, provides wireless and wired internet service in high-traffic public locations. The company operates wireless hotspots in 40 states, and focuses on areas like airports, hotels, marinas, and quick-service restaurants.
Their model is very similar to the 2012 project where Google partnered with Boingo to provide over 4,000 hotspots across America. Now, through this purchase, Google will be providing the infrastructure for their partner, instead of the other way around. ICOA partners with many companies, including: Colubris Networks, Nomadix, BroadSkyNetworks, MegaPath Networks, Boingo Wireless, iPass, SmartVideo, Fast Data Technology, and Denny's DFA.
According to the press release, Google believes this purchase will "further diversity it's [sic[ already impressive portfolio of companies." Google will acquire an additional 1,500 broadband access installations across 45 states. Unfortunately, today's press release did not include any information on whether or not Google plans to use the acquisition to provide more paid services, or if they plan to license out the infrastructure for other companies.
The move comes after the launch of the Google Fiber project, which is already making waves in the broadband internet service industry. In early November, Google began offering its Google Fiber service to homes in the Kansas City area. The service is very comprehensive, and includes running fiber directly into consumer homes in order to provide connections that are as much as 100x faster than the national average.
Google Fiber doesn't just bring super-fast internet speeds anymore either, now they offer a home television and DVR service as well. The company has made some bold promises, including making sure their installation technicians show up at the beginning of your appointment window and offering a full run-down of your new service before leaving your home. They also provide a modem/router combo and a box for each TV that consumers connect. What kind of remote comes with such a service? A Nexus 7 tablet that can control all of your services from one location.
Google is expanding in new and interesting directions, with an emphasis on physical properties. The impact of Google services in an industry that's become largely stagnant in the US is yet to be seen, but it seems likely that their continued growth and purchases will spur other providers to supply better and faster service, especially in the metro areas that will get Google Fiber and other Google services first.