Google Fiber is expanding Webpass Ars Technica

Google Fiber is looking to develop its wireless internet business throughout the United States. Last October, Alphabet Inc., owner of Google, purchased Webpass, a wireless internet provider. Webpass is a wireless internet service offered in seven cities throughout the United States. Webpass is currently looking to expand to Seattle according to Ars Technica. Webpass utilizes “point-to-point” wireless technology for its internet. It builds wireless transmitters on top of buildings and transfer the internet signal between them. According to an Ars Technica interview with Charles Barr, the founder, Webpass looks to construct the transmitters on buildings less than 5,000 meters apart that are also within eyesight of each other in order to maximize the internet speeds.

Webpass is not available for single homes due to the extensive process used to build the transmitter as well as the major financial commitment needed. According its website, it only provides the service to apartment/condo complexes with at least 10 units or urban businesses. Webpass also prefers to build in densely populated areas due to the potential for more customers and the simplicity of transferring signal between large buildings. It provides internet speeds up to 1GB per second for “business plans” and 100MB to 500MB for residential customers. The 100MB to 500MB service is $55/month regardless of the speed. Those who purchase “business plans” pay anywhere from $125/month to $5,500/month due to speed requested.

Residents of buildings equipped with Webpass technology are not forced to subscribe to the service. They can still choose to use a different internet provider. Those who do subscribe to Webpass are provided with an ethernet cable to connect their device to. If they want a wireless connection, however, they must purchase a router to connect to the ethernet cable.

Wireless technology isn’t always as reliable as wired. Subscribes of Webpass often experience slower speeds during peak hours. Severe weather can interrupt signal and heavy usage can severely slow down the speeds.

Google Fiber, is currently being used in nine major cities throughout the entire country. Google Fiber offers four separate services to citizens of their participating cities. They can purchase premium plans that include internet speeds up to 1000MB per second as well as 220+ TV channels for $160/month. Or they can choose to purchase a 100MB/second internet service for $50/month.

Google Fiber differs from Webpass due to the use of fiber optic cables to transfer data. The tiny cables run underground and require an extensive amount of time to place properly. Each city that has been granted Google Fiber experiences a long construction process, but faster internet speeds. Every citizen in the towns with Google Fiber have access if they so desire. Google Fiber users are not likely to face internet outages due to inclement weather or heavy usage, unlike Webpass subscribers. Google Fiber tries to connect small parts of cities separately rather than the entire city at once. They call the communities “fiberhoods.” Several cities are expected to receive Google Fiber in the near future including San Antonio and Huntsville, Ala.