In 2016, Google Fiber acquired broadband company Webpass to help its internet service to help expand its territory as an internet service provider (ISP). It’s been a little over a year, and Google Fiber is starting to shrink pretty drastically. Webpass has officially pulled out of the Boston area, one of the service’s listed markets, and has stopped taking new customers. After checking the Google Fiber site, it seems Boston has been taken off the market list completely. Access — the Alphabet subsidiary that runs Google Fiber — has confirmed the news.
“As with any acquisition, we’ve spent some time evaluating the Webpass business. As a result of our analysis, we’ve made the decision to wind down Webpass operations in Boston,” an Access spokesperson said. “We’ll work with customers and partners to minimize disruption, and there will be no immediate impacts to their Webpass service. We continue to see strong subscriber response across the rest of the Webpass portfolio, including successful launches in Denver and Seattle in 2017.”
Google Fiber and Webpass Say Goodbye to Boston
Prior to being removed from the market list, Boston was one of 8 cities in the U.S. to offer Google Fiber through Webpass. The service is delivered to customers in residential and commercial buildings through point-to-point wireless communication. Now when you search for Webpass service in Massachusetts, the page redirects to the company’s homepage.
Webpass has been in the Boston area since 2015, but according to new data from some competitors, it simply cannot compete. The Boston Globe reports that both RCN and Comcast offer gigabit-class broadband in the area, and although prices aren’t really compatible to Google Fiber and Webpass, they are able to sell their services in bundles – which Google has not been able to do since launching its internet service.
Google Fiber announced its acquisition of Webpass in June 2016 amid reports that executives at Alphabet (including Larry Page) had demanded a scaling back of Fiber’s costly rollout ambitions. After experiencing a huge round of layoffs and executive departures, Google Fiber announced last year that it would pause its efforts to expand in nine more cities. The service also canceled hundreds of new installations in its original market, Kansas City.
Perhaps Google Fiber needs to go back to the drawing board before biting off more than it can chew. It’s actually pretty sad to see such a smart team fail – and this failure may just be getting started.