On Wednesday, Seattle-based Starbucks announced plans to completely revamp the customer Wi-Fi network at more than 7,000 company-operated stores across the country. The revamp starts with a new partnership between Starbucks and Google. Over the course of the next 18 months, the Starbucks Wi-Fi system will be transitioned off of the AT&T network and on to a new, faster Google system.
“Every day, our customers rely on the free Wi-Fi at Starbucks to study, work, connect with friends or just relax. 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,” said Adam Brotman, chief digital officer, Starbucks. “Our goal is to continue to provide our customers with the best in-store experience possible, and we are excited to offer these kinds of unparalleled experiences at a broad scale.”
Starbucks is one of my go-to locations when my home Internet connection is down and although I’ve never had connectivity issues while working from a Starbucks, I’m all for a faster connection. Starbucks is reporting that the new network will be about 10 times faster than the current system.
The Wi-Fi system at Starbucks has evolved over the years. When I first started using Starbucks as a mobile office, there was a fee to use the in-store Wi-Fi. Then, it was opened up to existing AT&T customers and since I had an iPhone, and AT&T was the only iPhone provider at the time, I was able to access the system for free.
Eventually, Starbucks opened up its free Wi-Fi connection to all customers and now the coffeehouse is beginning a new chapter in its in-store Wi-Fi journey – transitioning to a new provider. Now to figure out when our local store is getting the upgraded network so that I can test it out.