Starbucks switching to Google to offer super-fast Wi-Fi

<i>This post has been updated. See note below for details.</i>

Starbucks is serving up a fresh cup of good news for customers who surf the Web at its stores: It’s teaming up with Google to provide blazing-fast Wi-Fi.

The coffee and Web giants announced Wednesday that they are partnering to provide Starbucks’ 7,000 U.S. company-operated stores with Google Wi-Fi that will be at least 10 times faster than Internet provided at the coffee shops currently.

In cities with access to Google’s Fiber network, speeds could be 100 times faster than what they are now, Google said.


Users will start seeing their local Starbucks Wi-Fi change to “Google Starbucks” as soon as next month. All 7,000 stores will be outfitted with the improved network over the next 18 months.

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“When your local Starbucks Wi-Fi network goes Google, you’ll be able to surf the Web at speeds up to 10x faster than before,” Google said in a blog.

The new partnership is a major victory for Google, which has been slowly breaking its way into the Internet-service-provider market by rolling out Google Fiber in a handful of cities over the last few years.

AT&T, on the other hand, is suffering a substantial loss. Prior to Google, it had been the service provider powering Starbuck’s free Wi-Fi. AT&T could not be reached for comment.

[Updated, 9:43 a.m. PDT July 31: AT&T said it will still continue to provide Starbucks with a number of other services over its network. The company also said it offered the coffee chain faster Wi-Fi speeds.


“In our proposal to Starbucks, AT&T also offered up to 10 times faster network and Wi-Fi speeds, so the decision must have been based on criteria other than speeds,” the company told The Times in an email.]


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