Expanding its broadband network beyond its Fiber project, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) announced its acquisition of a Rhode Island-based ICOA INC (PINK:ICOA) for $400 million, with a view to “further diversify it’s already impressive portfolio of companies”. ICOA Inc. is a national provider of wireless and wired broadband Internet networks in high-traffic public areas, including restaurants, universities, airports, and marinas.
ICOA INC (PINK:ICOA), the leading vertically integrated broadband wireless Internet network provider, offers a suite of services and solutions that cater to the unique requirements of high-traffic public venues. They provide installation, operation, management, maintenance, and design of Wi-FI hotspot, as well as hot-zone Internet access. Managing over 1500 broadband hotspot locations in US, including 45 states, ICOA, Inc. covers RV parks and campgrounds.
Not forgetting that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) deployed its Fiber project in Kansas, offering a connection that provides a speed a 100 times faster than an average broadband connection in the US, the acquisition of ICOA INC (PINK:ICOA) seems like a rather interesting move by the web search giant.
In partnership with Boingo, a public WiFi hotspot provider, Google has offered its consumers free WiFi at more than 4,000 hotspots all across the US. Users of Android, as well as X or Windows OS, were facilitated in using the free WiFi hotspot service in hotels, restaurants, and other high-traffic public locations.
In 2006, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) introduced free WiFi access to around 12 square miles, covering most of the city where its headquarters are stationed. News has it that Google initially committed to offer this service for free only until year 2010, but the free WiFi access is still available across the country.
Today’s acquisition, however, does not reveal if the web search giant intends to offer a paid service of its own. Interestingly, this acquisition took place right after the news about Google being involved in talks with the Dish network about launching a wireless service that could compete with AT&T, Verizon, and the likes.
Update 13:22 EST: ICOA’s CEO George Strouthopoulos said that the information provided in the release was untrue.