Business

Google kicks AT&T out of Starbucks; will provide free Wi-Fi to 7,000 locations

Above: Man using an iPad at Starbucks

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Google will soon provide free Wi-Fi inside all 7,000 Starbucks locations in the United States, the company announced today.

Until now, AT&T has provided the free Wi-Fi inside locations, but apparently Google has kicked it out with the promise of faster speeds. Google says most locations will get speeds up to 10 times faster than before. If you happen to live in a city with Google Fiber (like Kansas City), then Google plans to offer Wi-Fi speeds 100 times faster than what was previously offered.

“Google has long invested in helping the Internet grow stronger, including projects to make Internet access speedier, more affordable, and more widely available,” Google Access General Manager Kevin Lo wrote in a blog post. “The free Internet connection at Starbucks has become an important part of many communities over the years, such as in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, or for students without Internet at home who do their homework at Starbucks.”

During the next 18 months, Google hopes to have all 7,000 company-operated Starbucks locations equipped with the new Wi-Fi connections. Google said it will roll out the first connections in August and that you will know a Google Wi-Fi network has gone live at your favorite location when you have the option to login to the “Google Starbucks” SSID.

Google also recently donated $600,000 to bring free Wi-Fi to 31 parks in San Francisco. The city hopes installations there will be finished by April 2014.

While Google is playing this up as a move to make the web available to more people, there’s also clearly incentive here. Google wants to get its services — from Gmail to Drive to Fiber — in front of more users.


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