Starbucks Now Offering Free Wi-Fi To All

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News Posted: Thu, Jul 1 2010 11:45 AM
Today's the day. You're probably checking your calendar to make sure that you didn't miss the July 4th holiday, but no, you didn't. And while it's definitely Canada Day as well, we're still talking about something even more different. Today's the day that Starbucks opens their Wi-Fi hotspots to the masses, and one of two things are going to happen.

One potential outcome is this: they, along with AT&T, are fully ready to handle the immense traffic load that will surely come, not to mention the added influx of traffic (and squatting) from people coming over just to hop on the Internet. Or, the other is this: Starbucks becomes a place you avoid at all costs because it's overflowing with people who are just there for the Wi-Fi, and the speeds are now unreasonably slow.


We're really hoping that the former will be true. As of now, there's no registration required and no time limit, so you can theoretically hang around and surf as long as the employees of any given location will allow you. We can imagine quite a few fights breaking out (verbal or otherwise) between consumers and employees; there's no set purchase limit either, so someone could waltz in, purchase a bottle of water and then surf for 8 hours.

Either way, we suspect that this won't go over as smoothly as we wish it would, but hopefully the signal will be strong enough for us all. See you there!

 Starbucks Turns on Free Wi-Fi for Customers July 1st

Free Wi-Fi with One-click for all Company-Operated Starbucks in U.S. and Canada

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) will turn on free Wi-Fi with one click on July 1 at U.S. and Canadian company-operated stores as a part of its ongoing commitment to enhancing the customer experience. Customers with Wi-Fi-enabled laptops, tablets and mobile phones will have unlimited Internet access to surf the Web, connect with social networks, search for jobs or work at their neighborhood Starbucks. Most recently, the free Wi-Fi benefit was limited to two hours a day and only available to members of the My Starbucks Rewards program. The new, unlimited Wi-Fi offering features a one-click entry point, so a username or password will not be required.

    “Our customers were asking for a simplified Wi-Fi offering, and free Wi-Fi has been a top request on MyStarbucksIdea.com. We’re excited to turn this feedback into action and believe our customers will be delighted with the enhanced experience they’ll find in Starbucks stores”

“Our customers were asking for a simplified Wi-Fi offering, and free Wi-Fi has been a top request on MyStarbucksIdea.com. We’re excited to turn this feedback into action and believe our customers will be delighted with the enhanced experience they’ll find in Starbucks stores,” said Howard Schultz, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Starbucks.

Starbucks will continue to work with AT&T in the U.S. as its Wi-Fi provider, a relationship that’s been in place since 2008. Close to 6800 Starbucks locations are part of AT&T’s U.S. Wi-Fi network, the nation’s largest. In Canada, more than 750 company-operated stores will now have free Wi-Fi. Bell is the Wi-Fi provider in Canada and has worked with Starbucks since 2005.

As Schultz noted at the WIRED Business Conference on June 14th, the addition of one click, free Wi-Fi to the Starbucks customer experience is just the beginning. Later this fall, Starbucks plans to introduce the Starbucks Digital Network, in partnership with Yahoo!. This new online experience, currently planned for U.S. company-operated stores, will offer customers free, unrestricted access to a collection of paid sites and services, exclusive content and previews, free downloads and local community news.

“Bringing one click, free Wi-Fi to Starbucks opens up new opportunities for our customers and gives us the backdrop to continue to bring innovation to their in-store experience. We’re finding new ways to bridge the third place coffeehouse environment with the digital space, and look forward to sharing that with our customers,” said Stephen Gillett, Starbucks executive vice president, chief information officer and general manager of Digital Ventures. 
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statusafk replied on Thu, Jul 1 2010 12:31 PM

That sounds great, now i can start using my itouch..woot

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Inspector replied on Thu, Jul 1 2010 11:30 PM

:), is that really a sign hanging there? i see the strings and all! :D.

Time to visit Starbucks more so i get free internet... (But how slow is it really?)

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dlim783 replied on Thu, Jul 1 2010 11:36 PM

Cool, free Wi-fi at Starbucks.

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About time they offered it, Caribou coffee has always had free wi-fi, and McDonald's recently switched as well.

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Price of water...Now, eight bucks!

the local ones here have had it since last summer. The baristas have been pretty good at chaseing people away who dont purchase. The thing that always gets me rilled are the kids who have to go and do thier homework at Starbuck. Just so they can look cool and grown up with a coffee! Why make your parents pay for internet at home just to go take up space at SBs! Thats why its called Homework!

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digitaldd replied on Fri, Jul 2 2010 11:04 AM

Knowing several people who just used the logins of other people they knew who had data plans from AT&T or T-Mobile its always been free. Wink

Seriously its cool and about time but I hope most people have the sense to realize they are on a private network and not conduct personal/sensitive business. Ohh and make sure you use SSL for any activity you can [email, IM, social networking, etc].

 

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This would have helped when I moved to Portland a few years back( searching for homes and jobs)

I always thought it was funny that starbucks charged for internet, when so many other companies offer it for free.

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digitaldd:

Knowing several people who just used the logins of other people they knew who had data plans from AT&T or T-Mobile its always been free. Wink

Seriously its cool and about time but I hope most people have the sense to realize they are on a private network and not conduct personal/sensitive business. Ohh and make sure you use SSL for any activity you can [email, IM, social networking, etc].

 

Wait, what? isn't it a public network???

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If memory serves me correct Starbucks used to offer free WiFi. At any rate it's good they offer it now as well as Mc Donalds I think more companies should follow suit.

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realneil replied on Sat, Jul 3 2010 11:55 AM

It's not too much outlay to provide access to customers. It reaps a lot of goodwill too.

When I lived in the city, I always went to Panera Bread for my coffee and internet rather than Pay for access at Starbucks. Panera was the choice for many of us cheapskates.

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I believe digitaldd said it: the Internet access at Starbucks was only free if you were an AT&T customer. They were happy to sell you time online, though.

Being a cheapskate, I never took them up on their offer, but rather went to other free sites for my roaming needs. McDonald's free offer is kinda bletcherous; it's not available in every Micky Dee's (despite their advertising department claims) and when it does exist, it's always slow as molasses, and often not connected to the Internet at all: you get the signal but no connectivity.

If you're in Philadelphia, two places stand out as exemplars. One is at 11th-12th and Arch: the Reading (pronounced RED ding) Terminal Market's free network, which has occasional outages but is in one of the best indoor farmer's markets in the country. Seriously, have the noodle soup at Sang Kee Peking Duck. The other: Independence Visitors Center, 6th & Market; it's where the History Makers hang out after a tough day wearing wool in 100-degree heat.


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