Attention Coffee lovers and iPhone/iPod/iPad owners. On July 1, Starbucks will begin offering free Wi-Fi access at each and every one of its nationwide locations. Now you’ve undoubtedly been through this song and dance before, only to hit a roadblock in the form of something like required account registration, but Starbucks is finally doing free Wi-Fi the right way.
Gone are time limits, user registrations and specialized store accounts. Wi-Fi at Starbucks will simply be free for the taking and will mirror the setup currently employed by Panera Bread, which is as painless a process as we’ve seen for “free wi-fi.” To access the wi-fi network at Panera, users simply hop online, check a box indicating that they’ve read the pertinent TOS agreement, and they’re off on their way.
Starbucks has had free wi-fi for some time now, but users are currently limited to 2-hours of usage and can only take advantage of the service if they happen to be AT&T subscribers or login with a Starbucks Card.
Lastly, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz recently explained an upcoming initiative called the “Starbucks Digital Network” whereby Starbucks customers in the US will have unfettered access to what would otherwise be pay-for-content sites such as the Wall Street Journal and ZAGAT, along with access to exclusive content and downloads. The Starbucks Digital Network is scheduled to roll out in the fall of 2010.