Google Fiber acquires Webpass, bolsters fiber network expansion plans

Google Fiber (NASDAQ: GOOG) is acquiring Webpass, a San Francisco-based ISP that offers fiber and wireless-based broadband services, in a deal that will enhance the service provider's fiber expansion efforts.

After meeting customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals, Google Fiber said the deal is expected to close this summer. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Founded in 2003, Webpass mainly focuses on providing Ethernet-based services to businesses using a mix of fiber and broadband wireless technologies. However, the service provider does provide 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps fiber-based residential broadband speeds in select markets.

Webpass currently operates in a number of urban markets including San Francisco, Oakland, San Diego, Miami, Chicago and Boston, as well as smaller markets like Emeryville and Berkeley, California, and Miami Beach and Coral Gables, Florida.

Besides the fiber infrastructure, Webpass will also enhance Google Fiber's subscriber base. Webpass says that it currently has "tens of thousands of customers."

The acquisition will also give Webpass greater scale as it gains access to Google's larger financial and personnel arsenal.

"Joining Google Fiber will be a great development for our users because the companies share the same vision of the future and commitment to the customer," said Charles Barr, president and founder of Webpass, in a blog post. "Google Fiber's resources will enable Webpass to grow faster and reach many more customers than we could as a standalone company."

The Webpass acquisition is line with Google Fiber's strategy to leverage existing network infrastructure in cities like San Francisco and Huntsville, Alabama to expand its network reach.

In February, Google Fiber announced it will use existing fiber to roll out its internet service to "some apartments, condos and affordable housing properties" in San Francisco. Additionally, Google Fiber will work to connect some public and affordable housing properties to its service for free.

Leveraging existing fiber networks in key cities is nothing new for Google Fiber.

Earlier, the service provider struck an agreement with Huntsville Utilities to use the new dark fiber network to provide its 1 Gbps service to residents and small- to medium-sized businesses with plans to cover the entire city within four years. Huntsville Utilities, which issued an RFP in 2015 to attract service provider partners, said its network is set to go live in mid-2017.

Google isn't the only provider that responded to Huntsville's call for fiber-based gigabit services. AT&T (NYSE: T), Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and competitive dark fiber provider Southern Light have also pledged to bring fiber-based services to parts of the city.

Besides Huntsville, Google Fiber made its entry into the Provo, Utah market by purchasing the beleaguered iProvo fiber network in 2013. At that time, Google Fiber said it would upgrade the existing network to 1 Gbps technology and complete network construction so all homes in the city can get access to the service.

For more:
- see this blog post
- The Verge has this article

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