Monday, February 18, 2008

Starbucks makes a step, but just one small step, in the right direction

Starbucks has been offering T-Mobile wifi service for years, for a price. So I was glad to see that they are now going to offer AT&T wifi for free. Free wifi, after all, is a standard feature in Austin coffee shops. Even the Dairy Queen has free wifi, for crying out loud. But the devil is in the details:
Starting this spring, Starbucks is also giving its card holders two free hours of free Wi-Fi service per day at participating locations.

"This is what our customers have been waiting for -- free Starbucks-quality wi-fi," Chris Bruzzo, chief technology officer for Starbucks, said in a statement. All Starbucks employees, about 100,000 of them, will also get free AT&T Wi-Fi accounts to use in the stores.

For java junkies that do not have either an AT&T subscription or a Starbucks card, Starbucks will sell two-hour blocks of wireless Internet at $3.99 or a monthly membership of $19.99 per month.
So we really aren't talking about free wifi, we're talking about no-additional-cost-for-subscribers. I guess I'll stick with the genuine free wifi of my local coffee shop.

Starbucks, AT&T offer free Wi-Fi service - Austin Business Journal:

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Michael Faris said...

Does this count as even a small step? A nudge? A toe forward? Perhaps they just uncurled their front toe to extend forward 2 millimeters?

Yay for local coffee shops!

Alan Rudy said...

this story ran in our local paper a week or so ago and I had exactly the same reaction...