Google Fiber is acquiring San Francisco-based internet service provider Webpass. The news, announced in a press release this afternoon, means Google’s own fiber service now has a well-established commercial provider of gigabit internet to aid its continued expansion. Webpass, founded in 2003, focuses on providing businesses with Ethernet-based fiber connections, though it does provide residential gigabit internet in select markets for buildings built after 1995. Webpass is active in five major US markets, including the San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego, Chicago, Boston, and Miami. The company says it has more than 20,000 customers.
“By joining forces, we can accelerate the deployment of super-fast internet connections for customers across the US,” wrote Webpass founder and president Charles Barr. “Webpass will remain focused on rapid deployment of high-speed Internet connections for residential and commercial buildings, primarily using point-to-point wireless.” The deal is expected to close later this summer, subject to any regulatory approvals. Pricing for the acquisition was not disclosed.
GOOGLE COULD USE WEBPASS’ EXISTING INFRASTRUCTURE FOR A SAN FRANCISCO ROLLOUT
The deal should help Google Fiber with its Bay Area rollout, as well as giving it an edge against cable companies in larger apartment buildings located in urban markets. As Recode‘s Mark Bergen points out, Google Fiber competes with Comcast and Time Warner Cable to reach customers in large apartment buildings, which the traditional telecoms typically lock down with multi-year agreements. Webpass has spent years make inroads in that department.
As for the Bay Area, Google Fiber, which operates as a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc. after Google’s restructuring last year, announced San Francisco as its next target city back in February. Michael Slinger, the group’s business operations director, said at the time that it would not be building out its own network and would rely on existing fiber networks instead. Webpass, being based in San Francisco, has owned and operated such infrastructure since its founding. In other markets, like Huntsville, AL, Google Fiber leases portions of the city’s municipal fiber network.