Coffee giant Starbucks will partner with mega internet company Google to upgrade the Wi-Fi in its U.S. shops, ending their relationship with current WiFi provider AT&T. According to Google's blog, the upgrades will make web surfing 10 times faster, and possibly 100 times faster for users in Google Fiber cities. Wi-Fi will still be free to all guests. Apparently, Google agreed to work on the project because the company "has long invested in helping the Internet grow stronger, including projects to make Internet access speedier, more affordable, and more widely available." On the Starbucks website, AT&T is still listed as the Wi-Fi provider.
Although some Starbucks locations in the New York area have covered outlets to prevent extreme laptop squatting, the move to improve internet speeds suggests that Starbucks is not against the idea of customers using computers at the shops. Starbucks' chief digital officer is quoted in a press release saying: "Every day, our customers rely on the free Wi-Fi at Starbucks to study, work, connect with friends or just relax." Laptop squatters take note: The upgrades will begin in August, and will hit the 7,000+ domestic Starbucks locations within the next 18 months.
· Starbucks' Wi-Fi goes Google [Google Blog]
· Starbucks Teams up with Google to Bring Wi-Fi to Customers [Business Wire]
· All Starbucks Coverage on Eater [-E-]