Starbucks Set To Launch Free Wi-Fi

In what can only be good news for many a high tech professional, coffee chain Starbucks said today that it will turn on free Wi-Fi in its stores July 1st, at all of its U.S. and Canadian company-owned stores. Starbucks said that it will give Wi-Fi enabled laptops, tablets, and mobile phones with unlimited access to the Web. Starbucks said the simplified Wi-Fi offering eliminates the prior, two-hour limit and requirement that users be a member of its My Starbucks Rewards program. The new program will not require a user and password. The coffee chain said that free Wi-Fi had been the top request of its customers. Previously, wireless access had been limited to users with a Starbucks rewards card who made certain minimum monthly purchases, or was available a-la-carte--for around $7.95 for a daily pass--via AT&T. Starbucks said earlier this month that it will also be rolling out a Starbucks Digital Network, a partnership with Yahoo, which will offer premium content from newspapers and others to users of its Wi-Fi services; the firm said that part of the Wi-Fi service will not roll out until later this fall.