Google is working to bring low-cost Wifi access hardware to small business is hopes of getting more people online around the world. According to a report out of The Information, Google Access — the same group that runs Google Fiber — is coming up with a plan that will offer small businesses heavily discounted enterprise-grade Wifi access points and other hardware to provide better internet access to customers. The initiative is currently targeting the likes of restaurants, gyms and doctors' offices— businesses that regularly have people coming and going and would want internet access.

The business would benefit from inexpensive and improved Wifi access for customers, and in turn Google would control who could have quick and easy access to the network. The idea being that once a customer connects to one "Google" Wifi hotspot, they would then be able to automatically connect to any other hotspot operated by Google in partnership with a business. It isn't clear at this point whether or not it'd require a sign-in with your Google Account, or if information on usage would be shared with the businesses.

In contrast to previous initiatives and partnerships, the goal here is to simply provide the specialized Wifi hardware to businesses, while the business itself would provide the internet connection to that hardware. This could provide the system with serious scale — the report claims that Google plans to push this initiative around the world, not just in the U.S.

Since Google isn't actually manufacturing the Wifi access point hardware and is targeting businesses directly, it isn't clear at this point how it plans to market to or get the attention of potential partners. If Google were to get a good number of business on-board with the deal, it could easily make the vast array of Wifi networks a selling point for having a Google Account.

Source: The Information


Reader comments

Google to offer low-cost Wifi hardware to businesses, free access to customers


This is gonna be a tough sell. I mean, most really small businesses will just pick up a cheap router at Walmart, Best Buy, or Amazon and hook that up. No, it won't be as good as an enterprise-grade router, but they really won't care if all they want to do is offer their customers free wi-fi. Now, if the Google router will offer better coverage over a large area at a comparable price, then they may have something there. Hell, you may see a few home users trying to grab one.

But what Google really, REALLY needs is a nationwide network of its own. All this stuff is really neat, but it'd be even better if Google could control the pipe. Then they could bundle this router with cheap Internet access, perhaps using fixed wireless, and these things would get snapped up as fast as they could be built. If Google was smart, they'd grab T-Mobile right now. It's pretty obvious that DT wants to sell, and a deal with Google would be much easier to sell to the government than a deal with Sprint/Softbank.

If it means paying next to nothing for high speed wifi that is not Comcast. Then I would gladly pay Google.

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Low cost hardware for businesses and free access for customers. This must be why people hate Google so much

Except it keeps competition down, and that is why they would be doing it. It's the same thing in my mind as subsidized phones, it covers up the actual cost of things, and eventually everyone complains about a business AP costing a several hundred dollars when in fact it always cost that. I'm not against the idea, but for sure it's a way to keep new guys out of the same game Google is in.

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You just know that when you use your Google account to sign in, your history is Google's history. Plus I'm fairly sure that Google will find a way to work some pushed ads in there somewhere. Let's say that you were online and you were searching for some gym clothes and other accessories. Then let's say that Joe's gym down the street has the Google business account and their wifi access is provided by Google. Again I'm fairly sure that an ad for Joe's gym is going to pop up somewhere in your daily usage of Google's products and services. This may or may not be a good thing depending on how you feel about the ads.

from my LG G2 via the DeathStar

You're going to get ads either way. The only difference is: whether or not the ads are going to be things you care about, or things you have no interest in. If I'm going to see ads, I'd rather them be things I'm interested in.

I'm sure all the hardware will come with preinstalled bugs courtesy of the NSA.

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"Since Google isn't actually manufacturing the Wifi access point hardware "

I think that Google is going to make a custom router. I think that there is something to come out of Google testing the 2300 mhz from Sprint on the Google campus.