Free one-click Wi-Fi arrives at all U.S. company-operated Starbucks stores on July 1

Appearing at WIRED’s Business Conference Disruptive by Design today, Howard Schultz talked with WIRED’s Chris Anderson about “Evolving the Starbucks Experience in an Ever-changing World.”

Schultz’s talk included how the company sought to embrace social and digital media and continues to look for new ways to bridge the third place coffeehouse experience with the digital world. 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 in 6,700 locations.

MacDailyNews Note: Starbucks currently offers two free hours of Web access per day to registered customers, after which customers who want more time are charged US$3.99 for two additional hours.

Building on the new free Wi-Fi policy, 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.

Driven by Digital Ventures, a new business unit within Starbucks led by CIO and General Manager, Digital Ventures, Stephen Gillett, the Starbucks Digital Network in partnership with Yahoo! opens up a uniquely valuable customer experience, while at the same time appeals to leading online content providers and provides a new channel for customer engagement. Launch content providers will include, among others, Apple iTunes, The New York Times, Patch, USA TODAY, The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo! and ZAGAT.

Source: Starbucks

19 Comments

  1. When I read between the lines on this, I keep seeing “walled garden”. Hopefully, this won’t be a too-tightly controlled experience. I’m happy to buy coffee & food as long as I can do VPN, Remote Access, etc. in addition to general access to the www.

  2. So what is different than the current ATT wifi service at Starbuck’s now? no log on?

    what they really need at their stores is stronger wifi with more bandwidth. so many now are weak and slow.

  3. Sounds good, though I rarely spend more than 3 minutes at a Starbucks. I almost envy those who have hours to spend at a coffee shop. I say almost because if I were given the time, I’d likely spend it elsewhere (like with my kids).

    FaceTime.

  4. Starbucks makes a good place to meet up with my husband or friends when I’m out or about — it’ll come in handy to have the free WiFi if I’ve got the laptop with me and folks are delayed. One of the local Starbucks just recently remodeled to add a lot more seating/worksurface space; wonder if they knew this was in the works?

  5. Don’t be such a condescending a$$hole. A lot of students and professional go to Starbucks and other coffee houses to get out of the office or school to do work. They are not just spending hours at the coffee shop.

  6. @MadMac:

    Jeez man, calm down. I think you might be one of those people drinking too much coffee.

    Oh, and Faceblime. Shoot…I guess I CAN’T say it…

  7. If you were going to spend time in a coffee shop, wouldn’t you try to find a local one with some character, rather than a plastic national product? Starbucks is to coffee as McDonalds is to hamburgers; consistent.

  8. @MadMac

    I work at home quite a bit and live 1/2 a block from one Starbucks and 1 1/2 blocks from another.

    Some days it’s nice to fight off cabin fever with a walk to the corner ‘Buck for a cappuccino. I know the people who work there and have running conversations with a couple of neighbors who go there too (writers and actors).

    These days, the toughest part is deciding whether to take my new i7 MBP or iPad. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”tongue wink” style=”border:0;” />

  9. – “So you want free Wifi and no coffee?”

    – “Yes Sir! AT&T;said I can get that here at this coffee shop”

    !!!

    Something is not logical here… So expect to get more here… make sure you read the Free WiFi Disclaimer.

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