Google Fiber is buying Webpass, a provider of Wi-Fi services for residential and commercial buildings. Note: Webpass does so using fixed wireless.
Webpass says it has tens of thousands of customers across five major markets in the United States, including San Francisco, Oakland, Emeryville, Berkeley, San Diego, Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Chicago, and Boston.
It is just a rational guess, but we would assume Webpass is going to be part of an effort by Google Fiber to functionally add a “Google fixed wireless” capability to quickly reach locations not presently reached by the fiber to home network.
As many other access providers have discovered, the business model for fiber to a home or fiber to a business depends largely on how many such potential customers can be reached by any single mile of access facilities.
For example, Vertical Systems Group estimates that fiber now reaches 46 percent of U.S. commercial buildings with establishments of 20 or more employees.
There always are potential customers who want to buy, but which cannot be profitably served by a direct fiber connection. Fixed wireless has, for decades, been viewed as one way to profitably connect a wider number of such customers.
And it appears Google Fiber aims to do precisely that.