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Wireless Networking

Starbucks Frees Wi-Fi 241

Posted by kdawson
from the free-as-in-coffee dept.
CWmike sends in this excerpt from Computerworld: "Free unlimited Wi-Fi is coming to nearly 7,000 company-operated Starbucks stores in the US beginning July 1, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said on Monday. Schultz also said that Starbucks is partnering with Yahoo! to debut the Starbucks Digital Network this fall. Starbucks customers will have free unrestricted access to various paid sites and services, such as wsj.com, as well as other free downloads Starbucks didn't detail. A spokeswoman said the access will be 'unlimited' and 'simplified, one-click.' By comparison, first-time Wi-Fi users in Starbucks stores now get up to two hours free after registering, but then must purchase additional time at the rate of $3.99 for two consecutive hours. That Wi-Fi access is already free to AT&T DSL home customers and AT&T mobile customers, according to the Starbucks website, but the connection process requires up to nine steps. McDonald's added free Wi-Fi to 11,500 locations earlier this year."
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Starbucks Frees Wi-Fi

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  • by Pojut (1027544) on Monday June 14, 2010 @08:11PM (#32573136) Homepage

    For a long time, our local Starbucks was primarily dominated by Apple laptops. About a year ago, seemingly overnight, the ratio shifted; hardly a MacBook to be seen. Now, it's gotten back to 50/50, but the majority of Apple users there are either holding an iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad.

    Has anyone else noticed this kind of shift at their local haunts?

  • Re:Yay! (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 14, 2010 @08:12PM (#32573150)

    They don't have small... Foamy the Squirrel (http://www.illwillpress.com/sml.html)

  • Re:Yay! (Score:5, Informative)

    by selven (1556643) on Monday June 14, 2010 @08:16PM (#32573186)

    You do realize that you can, even before this change, use Starbucks's wifi without ever buying a single thing from them?

    Also, try tea. It's cheaper.

  • What the? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Aladrin (926209) on Monday June 14, 2010 @08:18PM (#32573202)

    Did nobody else catch this?

    "Starbucks customers will have free unrestricted access to various paid sites and services, such as wsj.com, as well as other free downloads Starbucks didn't detail."

    It's not "free unlimited access." It's "free unlimited access to select Starbucks-chosen sites, most of them you have to pay for."

  • Re:What the? (Score:4, Informative)

    by rockNme2349 (1414329) on Monday June 14, 2010 @08:25PM (#32573266)

    Schultz also said that Starbucks is partnering with Yahoo! to debut the Starbucks Digital Network this fall. Starbucks customers will have free unrestricted access to various paid sites and services, such as wsj.com, as well as other free downloads Starbucks didn't detail.

    It sounds to me like they will get free WiFi access to the internet, as well as a free pass around a couple pay-walled websites, although neither the article or the summary explicitly says it.

  • Re:What the? (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheKidWho (705796) on Monday June 14, 2010 @08:27PM (#32573288)

    You read it wrong, they are providing free access to paywalled sites like wsj.com. Similar to the system a University has in place with research journals.

  • US Only? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Okonomiyaki (662220) on Monday June 14, 2010 @08:27PM (#32573290) Homepage

    Please bring this to Japan. It is impossible to find free wifi here. SBC used to have it but they seem to have completely folded.

  • Re:What the? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Graff (532189) on Monday June 14, 2010 @09:00PM (#32573512)

    It's not "free unlimited access." It's "free unlimited access to select Starbucks-chosen sites, most of them you have to pay for."

    You already get free, unrestricted access to any site if you use a Starbucks card [starbucks.com]. You get the card for free, throw a few bucks on it, and use it for purchases. As long as you make 1 purchase a month (of any amount) you get free access for the month. They also give you other perks like free addons (flavored syrup and such), free refills, and every so often they send you a card for a free drink of any kind you want.

    I'm not big on using cards like this but they do compensate you pretty well for using it.

    My big quibble with all of these "click to log on" types of systems is they are a pain in the butt. Say I just want to check my e-mail or do something else that's not HTTP, I can't do it unless I load up my web browser, visit any web site, get redirected to their landing page, and do their login dance. It's a huge waste of time, there should be some way for them to build their login directly into the wifi login to avoid HTTP if we aren't currently using it.

    Not to mention that they all have some odd reasons for timing out the login and I'll be in the middle of doing something (like a Slashdot post!) and it fails because I have to re-login. What a pain in the ass!

  • Re:What the? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Graff (532189) on Monday June 14, 2010 @09:06PM (#32573562)

    It's not "free unlimited access." It's "free unlimited access to select Starbucks-chosen sites, most of them you have to pay for."

    Oh, and if you go directly to the Starbucks press release [tekgroup.com] linked in the article:

    As part of this commitment, Schultz recognized customers' desire for a better in store Wi-Fi experience and announced that on July 1, Starbucks will turn on one-click, free Wi-Fi through AT&T in all U.S. company operated stores.

    Building on the Wi-Fi update, Schultz also revealed plans for a new online customer experience called the Starbucks Digital Network, in partnership with Yahoo!, which will debut later this fall. This online experience - available only in U.S. company operated Starbucks stores - will be unique in its content offerings, allowing customers free unrestricted access to various paid sites and services such as wsj.com, exclusive content and previews, free downloads, local community news and activities, on their laptops, tablets or smart phones.

    So it's both free access to the entire internet and free, unrestricted access to sites that you might normally pay for such as wsj.com.

  • by rubenerd (998797) on Monday June 14, 2010 @10:40PM (#32574130) Homepage

    Probably not all that relevant to this discussion, but my SG$0.02.

    All the Starbucks branches here in Singapore have free WiFi provided you register first, it's part of the government's Wireless@SG initiative, which I can forgive the corny 1990s name for because it Just Works. The irony is this free internet is faster and more reliable than the ADSL I was paying a small fortune for back in Australia!

    There's a huge coffee shop culture here. It's really fascinating to see Starbucks (and Coffee Bean, and Killiney etc), even at 11pm they're absolutely packed with students studying on their MacBooks and business folk frantically typing away. I asked a few local friends why, and mostly it's because apartments here are so small an overpriced cup of coffee is a small price to pay for a comfy chair, relaxing music and a place to do some work on the Internets without your siblings making noise in your ear.

  • by Yvan256 (722131) on Monday June 14, 2010 @10:52PM (#32574208) Homepage Journal

    I drink Brawndo, because Brawndo's got electrolytes.

  • Re:Yay! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Wireless Joe (604314) on Monday June 14, 2010 @10:59PM (#32574262) Homepage

    What Starbucks offers has almost nothing in common with coffee.

    You mean, except for their brewed coffee [starbucks.com]
    that starts at around a buck and includes free refills? It's easy to hate the frou-frou drinks they serve, but the still do offer basic coffee at reasonable prices.

  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @01:39AM (#32574970) Homepage

    A few years ago, there was a modernistic little tea shop in Palo Alto which not only had free WiFi, but electric outlets at every table. So the place was full of people with laptops. It was very quiet. Nobody talked.

    They didn't buy much, though. The woman behind the counter had so little to do that she was usually reading (a book, not a screen, typically some 19th century classic; she was a philosophy major.) The place lasted about six months. Then it went over to being a coffee bar. That didn't work either. Now it's a yogurt place, with few tables and no available power outlets.

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