College students and coffee fanatics across the nation can rejoice because Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz has announced that starting July 1st it will be offering free Wi-Fi in all its U.S. stores. This is a major change from the previous system where customers had to purchase a Starbucks gift card and then register it before being able to use the Internet. But now, you won’t even need to buy a drink to use the Wi-Fi. This is different from most other coffee places that usually require people to make some type of purchase before they can surf the web.
In addition to bringing free Wi-Fi to its 11,500 U.S. locations, Starbucks is adding in a few other perks as well, including free access to the Wall Street Journal online and free downloads from iTunes, The New York Times, and USA Today, in order to further entice customers to come into their stores. There’s been no word on if this service will be free permanently or if it’s only for the summer when they will be making less money off of students who do school work at Starbucks; however, if they do keep it free, it will definitely set them apart from other rival coffee shops.
I myself, being a college student and mocha-frapaholic, spend a lot of my studying hours at the local Starbucks so having access to free internet while I’m there just makes everything easier. The only drawback I really see is that the already crowded Starbucks lounging areas will only be even more packed due to this new convenience. Other that one minor setback I think this will definitely help business boom for the successful franchise.