Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Starbucks ups the ante with more and faster Wifi

Now that smaller independent coffee places have had to reserve "laptop-free" tables and take other precautions to limit wifi leechers who come in and turn their establishments into mobile offices, Starbucks has stepped into the breach and offered MORE to entice all those writers, actors, bloggers and telecommuters that want a nice social place to settle in for work.  

In addition to offering outlets to charge laptops, tablets and mobile phones, now the coffee giant has ended its long wifi partnership with AT&T in favor of a faster, more state-of-the-art connection with Google.  They even promise that in areas served by Google Fiber fiber optic internet, Starbucks will offer free wifi at speeds 100x that of their old DSL.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
The Atlantic

Link to article:

Excerpt: "The war between coffee shop squatters and coffee shop owners has been brewing (if you will) for two decades. The battle lines are pretty clear: the squatters want to sit with their laptops; the owners want traffic moving through their coffee shops.

The latest dispatches from this brutal war of attrition is being reported by the San Francisco Chronicle. In that city, the Coffee Bar has implemented time-metered seats for coffee-drinking patrons and banned anyone armed with a laptop from sitting there—all of which is music to Evil Empire's Starbucks's ears...

Obviously, people who love slurping down free WiFi and have the endurance to spend hours upon hours in a coffee shop are going to be most offended by this movement. Conversely, people who go to coffee shops just to briefly scan the paper, eat lunch, or chit chat with friends are going to love this innovation.

But you know who else loves this escalation? Starbucks. The coffee conglomerate has been quietly been making moves to take advantage of miffed WiFi moochers. Late last month, the coffee giant announced that its stores in Silicon Valley will begin a wireless charging technology. 'Customers are using mobile devices more and more. Keeping your devices powered is a problem,' a spokesperson told ABC News. Clever. Charging your phone is convenient but it takes time; Starbucks wants that time spent in its coffee shops.

And that news came right before Starbucks announced it was dumping AT&T and upgrading its WiFi connections by partnering with Google. 'When your local Starbucks WiFi network goes Google, you’ll be able to surf the web at speeds up to 10x faster than before. If you’re in a Google Fiber city, we’re hoping to get you a connection that’s up to 100x faster,' Google wrote on its blog. Faster WiFi in addition to a phone charge kinda makes it seem like Starbucks wants you to make yourself at home. What reason would you have to leave?

What has coffee locavores scared is that all these upgrades, along with the mounting aggression against WiFi users from mom and pop shops, will eventually put smaller shops without WiFi out of business. In other words, mom-and-pop stores could win the WiFi battle but lose the coffee war."

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