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Google pays $400m for WiFi provider ICOA

Updated Or not
Mon Nov 26 2012, 16:31
Bastille Day 2011 Google Logo

ADVERTISING BROKER Google has bought wireless internet provider ICOA for $400m.

Google's recent entry into the 'last mile' market came as it lit up its Kansas city fibre to the home service and offered WiFi services in 4,000 public locations in the US. Now the firm has spent $400m to buy wireless internet firm ICOA.

ICOA provides WiFi connectivity in public places such as airports, restaurants and universities with the firm claiming it owns or operates over 1,500 US locations in 45 states. The firm not only provides connectivity services but content filtering, content partnerships and even advertising.

Google's decision to purchase ICOA is further indication that the firm wants to extend its reach further down the networking stack. ICOA's hotspots can provide Google with not only advertising presence but greater control over how its own services are experienced by users, such as promoting Youtube's growing library of professional content.

Although Google has only recently turned on its Kansas fibre to the home service, given the firm's access to IP transit and its deep pockets it seems highly likely that the company will roll out similar services to other cities in the future. In the meantime, the firm could get some benefits from pushing wireless connectivity without having to dig up many roads.

It turns out that Google didn't acquire ICOA after all. According to multiple reports, both sides have denied the buyout, sparking speculation that it was no more than a hoax press release. We'll bring you more as we get it. µ


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