Google Fiber may be a well-known name, but it is not exactly a commonplace service. In fact, the company only offers service in 6 markets today, with another 6 in-progress, and several others being considered. Expansion has been slow, though, partially because of the high cost of installation and partially because of overall interest in the offering, both from consumers and from municipalities.
This week, the company has taken a major step in adding to their infrastructure, by announcing the purchase of Webpass. The San Francisco-based ISP offers a comparable service to Google Fiber, but in markets where Google is currently not offering their services. With this single transaction, they have nearly doubled their metropolitan footprint, including in 2 cities that were in-progress previously.
Webpass takes a different approach to offering their gigabit service to customers, though. Rather than using fiber running throughout a city, they use point-to-point wireless to connect to a central hub, where cabling is then run to the subscribers. For example, in an apartment complex, you might have an antenna on the top of a building, and the hub would cover everyone inside that single complex.
Because of this technological setup, the service is only offered to multitenant building, like offices, apartments and condos. The company says it is far too expensive to offer the service to individual buildings at this time. When combined with a fiber infrastructure from Google, however, it is possible that Google might be able to offer their services to all types of buildings in these markets for less than installing a full infrastructure.