Starbucks touts free WiFi

Posted by STARR KESHET

Tired of paying an extra four bucks for two hours of Internet access at your local Starbucks? Well, starting on July 1st, you can surf the 'Net for free while guzzling that extra-large frappachino!

The company is also slated to debut a content network dubbed Starbucks Digital Network, which will offer caffeine addicts exclusive access to content from various publications, such as the Wall Street Journal.

Starbucks touts free WiFi"Free Wi-Fi is in my mind just the price of admission — we want to create...new sources of content that you can only get at Starbucks," Chairman Howard Schulz told Wired.

"This is a thing that doesn't exist in any other consumer marketplace in America."

According to Schulz, the coffee chain hopes to make big bucks from its Digital Network by "enhancing the experience" and creating content "so compelling that it drives incremental traffic."

However, it should be noted that Starbucks will require each customer to log in to its Wi-Fi service and Starbucks Digital Network with a unique identifier.

"Starbucks won't only know where you are, but who you are, potentially allowing for targeted messaging to offset cost further," explained Wired's Eliot Van Buskirk.

"Focus groups [are said to] have been quite receptive to the free Wi-Fi and local content customers will get in return."