Google’s Webpass challenges CenturyLink, others in Seattle with 1 Gbps speeds for $60/month

On its website, Webpass now lists Seattle as a city it serves. Image: Webpass

Webpass, the wireless internet service provider Google acquired last year, has expanded into its seventh market, Seattle. The company is offering 1 Gbps internet speeds for $60 per month, or $550 annually, which puts it below the cost of some rival ISPs in the city like CenturyLink.

To be clear though, Webpass isn’t covering all of Seattle yet. The company in a release announced that it will install high-speed internet in its first building in Seattle, 1521 Second Ave., a 40-story luxury tower located above Pike Place Market. "Launching a new city is always fun! I'm eager to demonstrate to the residents of 1521 Second Ave. the value of a Webpass connection,” said Webpass founder Charles Barr in the release.

For its deployment, Webpass said it will use point-to-point wireless radios to tap into the building's existing Ethernet cabling infrastructure. “The non-invasive installation provides residents and building owners with a competitive option. Webpass installs internet service in residential apartment or condo buildings with 10 units or more with no installation cost (subject to the building owner's approval of Webpass' simple one-page agreement),” the company said. The company did not immediately respond to questions from FierceTelecom about the details of its deployment, including what exact equipment it is using and what spectrum its service is running over.

Webpass currently operates in San Francisco, Oakland, San Diego, Miami, Chicago, Boston and Denver. The company was founded in 2003 and offers service to “tens of thousands” of customers across a handful of U.S. markets in part by offering fixed wireless service on licensed and unlicensed frequencies stretching across the 6, 11, 18, 23, 24, 60, 70 and 80 GHz bands.

The company’s expansion into Seattle is noteworthy in light of the ongoing changes at Google Fiber. Google Fiber has slowed or discontinued fiber buildout plans in some markets, and the company in April realigned its Fiber management ranks once again, shuffling Milo Medin, a VP at Access, and Dennis Kish, president of Google Fiber, out of its Access division.

Many have speculated that Google acquired Webpass as part of a broader strategy to move its Google Fiber business to wireless technologies. However, in Webpass’ Seattle announcement, the company makes little mention of Google other than to note that it’s “a San Francisco-based internet provider owned by Google Fiber.”