Update: It appears the press release announcing the acquisition was wrong. ICOA's chairman and CEO George Strouthopoulos has confirmed that his company was not acquired by Google.
"This is NOT TRUE!! Never had any discussions with any potential acquirers!! This is absolutely false!" he wrote in an email. Strouthopoulos added that "Someone, I guess a stock promoter with a dubious interest, is disseminating wrong, false and misleading info in the PR circles." ICOA is planning to report the incident to the appropriate authorities, Strouthopoulos said.
A Google source also confirmed that the report is not true.
Google on Monday morning announced it has acquired wireless Internet network provider ICOA for $400 million.
ICOA provides wireless and wired broadband Internet networks across the U.S., including Wi-Fi hotspots in airports, hotels, marinas, restaurants, parks, camps, and other high-traffic public locations. ICOA also provides back office solutions for hotspot operators and wireless service providers. The Warwick, R.I.-based company owns and operates roughly 1,500 broadband hotspot locations across 45 states.
In a statement, Google said it made the acquisition to "further diversify its already impressive portfolio of companies." The Web giant did not elaborate about its motivation for the deal.
The acquisition comes after Google last month partnered with Boingo Wireless to sponsor free Wi-Fi hotspots in 4,000 locations around the country for Android users during the month of September. The deal was part of Boingo's newly expanded Wi-Fi sponsorship model, which allows advertisers to fund free access in exchange for special offers and video placements.
As TheNextWeb pointed out, the ICOA acquisition essentially makes Google one of Boingo's largest competitors.
This is not Google's first foray into the business of providing Internet service. The Web giant this year officially became a service provider with the launch of Google Fiber, which provides ultra-fast 1 gigabit Internet access and TV service. Google is focusing its initial rollout in Kansas City and only in neighborhoods where there is enough interest in Google Fiber to warrant the cost. Earlier this month, Google began hooking up homes in the area.