Starbucks To Open Wi-Fi Access

Coffee chain Starbucks, the second home of startup entrepreneurs and frequent makeshift offices of many a startup or technology professional in town, is going to open up free Wi-Fi for its customers. According to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, the firm has recognized its customers desire for a better, in-store Wi-Fi experience, and will offer one-click, free Wi-Fi as of July 1st in its U.S. stores. The free wireless will be available from AT&T. Previously, Starbucks customers were required to have a Starbucks gift card, and certain minimum purchase requirements in order to access the Wi-Fi services at its stores for free. Alternately, customers were forced to pay AT&T for a la carte or monthly access. Schultz made the announcement at the WIREDís Business Conference Disruptive by Design conference this morning. As part of the free service, Schultz said it is partnering with Yahoo to offer specific content from the Wall Street Journal, new York Times, USA TODAY, and others as part of a new Starbucks Digital Network effort.