Starbucks promises totally free Wi-Fi after July 1, new content network with Yahoo

Starbucks, the ubiquitous U.S. coffee shop chain will begin offering totally free unlimited Wi-Fi on July 1.

Previously, Starbucks coffee shops offered different degrees of connectivity depending upon whether they had T-Mobile or AT&T hotspots inside. Once all of the corporate stores shifted fully to AT&T hotspots in 2008, customers with Starbucks loyalty cards received two free hours of Wi-Fi per day before having to pay.

Today, the company issued a statement which said that all of its 6,700 company-owned stores will have free, unlimited Wi-Fi hotspots which also act as a gateway to premium content called the "Starbucks Digital Network."

That is, when you're connected to your Starbucks hotspot, you will have access to unique content, free downloads, and free access to pay sites such as WSJ.com.

The Starbucks Digital Network is the result of a partnership with Yahoo, and launch partners include iTunes, The New York Times, Patch, USA TODAY, The Wall Street Journal, and ZAGAT.

This announcement comes after Starbucks reported its first increase in its number of customers in more than three years, and paid its first ever cash dividend to stimulate investor sentiment.

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