Google acquires Wi-Fi provider ICOA for $400M (Updated)

Update 1: Hmm. Despite a press release on PR Web this morning, AllThingsD just reported that Google did not buy ICOA Wireless:

We have yet to hear from a Google rep on the record. But people within the company say that contrary to a press release posted on PR Web, Google has not bought ICOA,  a Rhode Island-based player in public Wi-Fi Networks. Shares of ICOA, which are traded on the OTC “pink sheets”, are up sharply this morning.

PR Web also took down the press release. The old link now redirects to the website’s Recent News page.

Update 2: The Wall Street Journal just contacted two ICOA executives who then commented on the matter:

Erwin Vahlsing, Jr., ICOA’s chief financial officer, said in an email that an online press release claiming Google had acquired ICOA for $400 million “is false.”

In a separate email, George Strouthopoulos, ICOA’s chief executive, said the company “never had any discussions with any potential acquirers.” He said ICOA will report the incident “to the proper authorities.”

Google just announced that it bought Wi-Fi provider ICOA for $400 million, while noting the buyout continues to diversify its “portfolio of companies,” according to a press release from PR Web.

In regards to ICOA, Google called it “a provider of Wi-Fi to high traffic public locations,” and it further said, “ICOA is a leading vertically integrated, neutral-host broadband wireless Internet network provider.”

ICOA essentially powers high-traffic places like airports and restaurants, and its network supports 802.11x technology and plays nice with most Internet service providers. Oh, the Wi-Fi provider is also a partner with Boingo. Interestingly, Google worked with Boingo earlier this year to provide the same hotspot solution to other high-traffic locations across America.

Google’s venture into the wireless space is further interesting when you take into account its Google Fiber Project in Kansas and recent rumors that it’s partnering with Dish Network to launch a wireless service.

We contacted Google for a comment and will update when more information is available.

Check out the full press release below.

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Google Offers and Boingo to expand free Wi-Fi to 24 more locations, malls and airports

We reported in June that Google Offers is sponsoring free Wi-Fi in New York City until September, and now the discounted service will extend to more nationwide locations.

The sponsorship is possible through an agreement with Boingo Wireless. New Yorkers and tourists currently access free Internet at six subway stations and over 200 Boingo hotzones in the borough of Manhattan due to the partnership. The free Wi-Fi coverage, which even reaches below street level, will end Sept. 7. However, another 24 locations across the country will soon have access to the wide-reaching, complimentary service.

Starting today, the sponsored Wi-Fi will cover eight malls and 16 airports throughout New York, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Seattle, and other major cities. Google Offers, which is an infant deal-of-the-day website piping localized savings to huge geographic markets in the U.S., is the first sponsor of Boingo Wi-Fi in New York subway stations.

The full press release is below (via BusinessWire):

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Google Offers to sponsor free Boingo Wi-Fi in NYC until September, with underground access

Google Offers will sponsor free Wi-Fi in New York City this summer starting today.

The sponsorship is possible through an agreement with Boingo Wireless. New Yorkers and tourists can now access free Internet at six subway stations and over 200 Boingo hotzones around the borough of Manhattan. The Wi-Fi coverage extends below street level and will last through Sep. 7.

“New Yorkers using the complimentary Wi-Fi services can check out deals from local businesses from Google Offers when they connect at Boingo hotzones throughout the city and at the following subway stations with wireless networks deployed by Transit Wireless,” explained the press release.

Google Offers is an infant deal-of-the-day website that caters localized savings to major geographic markets in the United States. It is the first sponsor of Boingo Wi-Fi, so today’s news is clearly a brand campaign for Google. However, Boingo will also benefit by expanding its initiative. The wireless tech plans to reach 36 subway stations by the end of 2012, with over 270 stations getting access by 2017, to create “a distributed advertising and sponsorship network reaching the subway system’s more than 1.6 billion annual passengers.”

Boingo Wi-Fi is already available at New York-area airports, retail centers, sports venues, hotels, fast food restaurants, and more.

The press release below.

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