Google is jumping further into the internet broadband game after announcing the $400 million acquisition of ICOA, Inc., a national high-traffic broadband Wi-Fi provider. According to Google the acquisition was completed to “further diversify it’s already impressive portfolio of companies.” ICOA provides internet users to broadband speed access in various areas including airports, restaurants and marinas. The company offers organizations the opportunity to implement Wi-Fi at their locations with proper design and maintenance.
ICOA currently operates just over 1,500 broadband Wi-Fi locations in 45 states. The company’s biggest offerings come from RV parks and campground where users have had issues staying connected in the past.
Google is no stranger to the WiFi game, back in 2006 the company began implementing its own free Wi-Fi access around its Mountain View headquarters. The free WiFi offered to Google employees quickly spread to 12 square miles, encompassing most of the town where the company’s headquarters is located.
ICOA has also developed partnerships with some impressive providers including Boingo, iPass, and Broadsky.
Google of course makes its money by getting users online, oftentimes by providing free or cheap service that entices internet usage. By taking control of areas where users are likely to be wasting time online it becomes a win-win for Google and its customers.
In September the search giant announced a partnership with Boingo which would provide free Wi-Fi at 4,000 Boingo locations throughout the United States. The Google partnership extends to Android devices and notebook PCs. Google specifically formed its partnership in order to extend its own app store and brand through cheap to acquire customers in various locations.
At this time Google and ICOA, inc. have not announced terms of the agreement which we assume includes both stock options and cash.
Are you looking forward to free or cheap Wi-Fi that is maintained and upgraded by the team at Google?
Update: The PRWeb press release reported on by various news outlets has since been pulled from circulation. Both Google and ICOA are denying the acquisition. Since being announced both company’s stock values have both increased, leading to speculation that a trader may have leaked the press release in order to artificially inflate stock values.