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Joining the likes of McDonald's and Barnes & Noble, Starbucks stores to deliver free wireless
Starbucks will begin offering free unlimited Wi-Fi at every one of its U.S. locations, according to a Monday morning announcement made by CEO Howard Schultz at a conference in New York.
Starting July 1, the free wireless Internet will be made available to customers at about 6,700 Starbucks coffeehouses across the country.
More and more we are seeing restaurants and other businesses opting for no strings attached free wireless Internet, in an attempt to vie for an increasingly Web-hungry audience. Last December, McDonald's brought free W-Fi to all its restaurants stateside. Apple Stores, Barnes & Noble, and Panera Bread also offer in-store access points with few, if any, conditions.
Other businesses, like Borders Books and Peet's Coffee, offer free Wi-Fi if the customer jumps over a couple minor hurdles. For example, customers at a Borders bookstore must accept terms to gain free access. At Peet's Coffee, one receives two hours of free Wi-Fi with a code provided by the cashier. (Starbucks previously only granted users two hours of access if they held a registered Starbucks card, like a gift card. Under the new program, no registration will be required at all.)
Schultz also said that Starbucks has partnered with various content providers to roll out a Starbucks Digital Network in the fall. The network will offer connected users free, unrestricted access to paid content like the Wall Street Journal online.
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