Google signals the expansion of its Fiber network with its newest acquisition, Webpass, an internet service provider offering gigabit connection in five major US markets. This deal, when approved by the regulatory board, serves as the first acquisition for the broadband unit since Alphabet was formed. This purchase also hints at Google getting serious about competing in the wireless broadband market. Webpass president Charles Barr confirmed the deal in a blog post, also mentioning that Google Fiber will provide the boost necessary to Webpass for further growth with the expertise of Google Fiber, and Webpass will continue serving its customers across all regions.
Webpass was founded in 2003, and mainly offers high-speed ethernet-based gigabit internet connections to businesses, in five major US markets, namely the San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego, Chicago, Boston, and Miami. Webpass also provides residential connections to apartments in limited areas for buildings built after 1995. According to the company, Webpass has over 20,000 customers. The deal should be completed by late summer, but might get delayed due to approvals from the regulatory board.
This acquisition is particularly important to Google, as it serves a multitude of purposes, first being the expansion plans for Google Fiber in the Bay Area. Google is not too keen on building its own networks and instead wants to rely on existing connections to provide high-speed data to more consumers. The residential accessibility of Webpass also makes it an attractive deal for Google as it competes against major players like Comcast and Time Warner Cable who often sign multi-year contracts with apartments. Furthermore, Webpass gives Google Fiber access to the two new markets of Miami and Boston, further accelerating the growth of the unit. Webpass also specializes in wireless broadband networks, which has always been a better choice to Google in comparison to cable internet.
Google had also announced the launch of 'Fiber Phone' (new kind of a land line essentially) early in 2016, which accompanies the Internet and TV Services already provided by Google. Google Fiber was categorized into ‘Other Bets’ in 2015 when Alphabet was formed. According to reports, of the $448 million in revenue from Other Bets in Alphabet, approximately $100 million came from Google Fiber.