Starbucks has announced that it will be opening up the WiFi networks in all of its several thousand US locations. AT&T is partnering on the effort, which had previously only been available as a paid service with T-Mobile.
In some areas, this will be more of a benefit than others. If you live out in the suburbs where the local Starbucks is amidst a strip mall or business park, you'll only get the benefit when you're there drinking coffee (exactly what the company wants.) But if you're in a place like, say, downtown San Francisco where there can be as many as four Starbucks storefronts on each square block, well, you may just be able to get yourself some free WiFi time.
When you factor this out over multiple large US cities and consider that Starbucks locations are still multiplying like rabbits, the total WiFi reach in the US could actually see a boost, and Starbucks could see a nice boost in business from customers staying in the stores longer than the paid system likely would not have been able to match.
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