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August 01, 2013

Google Replaces AT&T as Starbucks Wi-Fi Service

By Michelle Nicolson, TMCnet Contributing Writer

For mobile technology lovers, the Starbucks sign means a cup of caffeinated goodness and free Wi-Fi service to catch up on email, Facebook (News - Alert) updates and work projects. While the caramel machiatto remains the same, the Wi-Fi service is about to change, with Google replacing AT&T at a Starbucks near you.

Google (News - Alert) claims the change means Wi-Fi service is about to get a whole lot faster. The company says Starbucks customers should see Wi-Fi speeds that are as much as 10 times faster than they are today, and as much as 100 times faster in markets with access to Google Fiber. Google Fiber is a broadband Internet network infrastructure using fiber-optic communication that is currently available in select Midwestern cities.

Image via CNET

“Every day, our customers rely on the free Wi-Fi at Starbucks to study, work, connect with friends or just relax,” said Adam Brotman, chief digital officer at Starbucks. “We want to make sure that they can access the Web effortlessly and quickly, no matter what they’re doing, or what device they are using.”

Starbucks will continue to offer the Google Wi-Fi for free. The changeover will begin next month and will take about 18 months to complete at more than 7,000 Starbucks locations around the United States.

The business reasoning behind the switchover wasn’t revealed by either Starbucks or Google.

“Google has always invested in projects that help the Internet grow stronger, including projects that make Internet access more affordable and more widely available,” said Kevin Lo, general manager of Google Access. “We hope that speedier Internet will make the time customers spend at Starbucks even more enjoyable and productive.”

The companies did not say which communities will see the changeover first, but noted the change in SSID will be obvious to Wi-Fi seekers once its Wi-Fi is available in a Starbucks shop.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey
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