Coffee chain Starbucks is partnering with Yahoo to roll out free Wi-Fi to all its locations starting on July 1. The current Wi-Fi setup offers access free access to customers who have a registered Starbucks card, or are AT&T subscribers. Non-AT&T customers that register are only able to get 2 hours of free access. AT&T customers must go through a multitude of steps to gain access to the free connection, but there is no time limit. If you don't fall into one of those categories, the cost is $3.99 for two hours of access. It's not the most appealing deal considering many businesses already offer free Wi-Fi.
Starbucks described the process of accessing the new Wi-Fi as "one click". We hope that means users won't have to register to use the service. Customers that use the new Starbucks network will see targeted content from various media partners including Yahoo and AOL. But you'll also get access to some WSJ, New York Times, Zagat, and USA Today free of charge. Users will also be offered a free iTunes download of the week. We think that's a reasonable tradeoff for free Wi-Fi where it was previously a paid service.