Google touts 1 GB Webpass as fixed wireless ambitions ramp up

Google Fiber now offers Webpass fixed wireless in six U.S. markets.

Google Fiber is now offering Webpass services in six major markets as it continues to step up its pursuit of the nascent fixed wireless market.

Webpass, which Google officially acquired in October, offers fixed wireless in Boston, Chicago, Miami, Oakland, San Diego and San Francisco. And as Telcompetitor reported yesterday, Google began informing consumers of the service this week by including Webpass markets on its Google Fiber map.

Consumers in six metro areas—now marked by a green pin—may be eligible to use Webpass if their building has at least 10 units, and is wired with Ethernet cabling,” Google Fiber President Dennis Kish wrote in a blog post. “Copper Ethernet wiring can allow for blazing gigabit speeds, making them an affordable alternative for building owners to install vs. coaxial cable or even fiber.”

Webpass prices start at $60 a month, and the service is available in tiers of 100 Mbps, 200 Mbps, 500 Mbps and 1 Gbps.

Google has tapped the brakes on its once-ambitious plans to provide FTTP (fiber to the premises) in recent months, which often requires significant investment, and increased its focus on point-to-point wireless. Google Fiber and Nokia are among the companies arguing for rules to promote more efficient use of spectrum, FierceWireless reported this week, and in September it received permission from the FCC to extend previously approved tests in the 28 GHz and 31 GHz bands in Mountain View, California, until March 25.

“We believe recent news around Google Fiber may be more reflective of a ‘course correction’ than an abandonment of its fiber strategy,” Jennifer Fritzsche of Wells Fargo Securities wrote in September. “With its acquisition of Webpass, we do believe Google is considering how to use wireless for the last mile. Recall, the last mile cost (as well as the cost to wiring the home itself) can account for 50% of a fiber-to-the-home build.”