On June 14, Starbucks tweeted free online access to be available at all US locations.
"We're very excited to announce that coming July 1st: Free. 1 click. No registration WIFI at all US locations!" said Starbuck via CoTweet, a company tweet resource.
Within 30 minutes, hundreds of coffee lovers retweeted the post.
Before July 1, getting online at a Starbucks involved being an AT&T customer or purchasing a two-hour card. Eater, an online food blog, noted that Starbucks is "trying to compete with independent coffee shops and the likes of McDonald's and their McCafes. but good luck finding a free table at Starbucks ever again!"
According to an opinion post in Computerworld, an online techie site, on October 11, 2007, "When Starbucks introduced for-pay Wi-Fi in 2002, it seemed like a great deal (especially for business customers who could expense it). But five years later, the model appears old and stale and ready for a complete overhaul. Prediction: Starbucks will start rolling out free Wi-Fi access within one year."
It appears competition and not ingenuity pushed Starbucks to make the change.
However the techie blog Read Write Web stated that Starbucks will also unveil their "Starbucks Digital Network," in the fall of 2010 and "will give users who surf the Internet from U.S. company owned stores 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.'"
"Besides the Wall Street Journal, Starbucks' partners include Apple's iTunes, The New York Times, Patch, USA TODAY, Yahoo and ZAGAT."
It shouldn't be long before a roll-out takes place in all of its 17,133 stores in 49 countries.