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Starbucks: no-registration, free Wi-Fi nationwide

Starting July 1, 2010, ALL Starbucks stores nationwide in the U.S. will offer free unlimited-time Wi-Fi to patrons WITHOUT REGISTRATION of any kind, according to CNN. MacDonalds and Panera Bread offer similar programs. Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz told Wired’s Chris Anderson that, in addition to the free Wi-Fi, the company plans to roll out a new Starbucks Digital Network in partnership with Yahoo, in the fall.

MacDonalds and Starbucks offer their Wi-Fi through AT&T, which separately has announced plans for free Wi-Fi in parts of New York City, and perhaps in other cities as well. The Wi-Fi would take some of the traffic off AT&T’s 3G phone network, and would provide the ability for videoconferencing on iPhone 4, which is currently only possible over Wi-Fi.

Starbucks was one of the first to offer Wi-Fi access to patrons (first via T-Mobile and then AT&T), but the access had a two-hour time limit and the patron must have been either an AT&T customer or have used a Starbucks Card to log in.

The Starbucks plan is to provide a better online experience and to add content that usually costs (such as Wall Street Journal access) for free.

-Bill at

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