Aside from coffee and tea, Starbucks will add “Free WiFi” to the list of reasons you’ll want to visit the globally-recognized coffee shop chain. Sure, you can already hop on AT&T WiFi Hotspots at Starbucks locations across the US, but you have to be a card carrying Starbucks customer or an AT&T customer to get free access at many of those locations. Soon, though, Starbucks has announced that it will offer one-click access to FREE WiFi at all Starbucks locations in the US, courtesy of AT&T. That’s right, even if you don’t own an iPhone or iPad, don’t want to register for a Starbucks gift card, and don’t care for AT&T home/wireless/internet services, you’ll soon be able to get online for free starting July 1st!
At WIRED’s Disruptive by Design conference, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced that his company’s chain of coffee shops will soon bridge the gap between their “third place” stores (the home being the “first place” and office being the “second place”) and the online world. On July 1st, you’ll be able to go to any Starbucks in the US and easily get online for absolutely free (you might want to at least buy an iced coffee, though). That’s big news for mobile road warriors and anyone looking to escape the summer heat in an air conditioned coffee shop while still having access to email and the web.
So, you’ll get free internet access at Starbucks starting this summer, but what’s in it for them? Well, aside from getting more customers to buy drinks that rhyme with “wrappaninno,” it’s all about getting eyes on its new Starbucks Digital Network. In partnership with Yahoo!, the newly created Starbucks Digital Ventures business unit will serve up “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.” Content will come from the likes of iTunes, The New York Times, Patch, USA TODAY, The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo! and ZAGAT, among others.
The take away here is that you, the consumer, will be able to enjoy free wireless internet at all Starbucks locations in America starting on July 1. That’s nice.