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Google AT&T Businesses Networking The Internet

Google Replaces AT&T At Starbucks 100

coolnumbr12 writes "A new partnership between Starbucks and Google hopes to improve the lives of freelance writers around the country. Starting in August, Google plans to make Internet speeds at all 7,000 Starbucks locations in the U.S. 10 times faster than the current AT&T-powered service. For people in a city equipped with Google Fiber, Google says the speed in Starbucks could increase as much as 100 times."
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Google Replaces AT&T At Starbucks

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  • by ZorinLynx ( 31751 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @11:06PM (#44442971) Homepage

    It's about freaking time!

    Whenever I go to Starbucks I often find myself turning OFF my Wi-Fi because my (also AT&T, strangely) LTE cellular connection is several times faster than the Wi-Fi there. Sometimes I even have trouble sending something as low-bandwidth as a freaking tweet!

    I think Starbucks uses slow consumer-grade DSL connections, because that's what it feels like. Upstream capacity is severely limited, and downstream is only slightly less so. I remember attempting a Facetime call and getting less than one frame per second in both directions and constant reconnecting...turned off Wi-Fi and it was smooth as silk.

    Meanwhile, my experience in Starbucks in Canada (where they don't use AT&T) is far superior.

    • by ( 245670 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @11:20PM (#44443081)

      Same here except substitute Verizon for AT&T and hotels for Starbucks. One time, I was staying in a motel in the middle of a large city and their internet service felt as slow as satellite. Huge latency, mediocre speeds. When I went out to the car, I saw a friggin' DirecWay dish at the end of the building. I could only assume that they had some ridiculous contract that required they put satellite internet at all of their locations. Another hotel limited their free internet to 1mb down. If you wanted 10mb, you had to pay something like $10/day. Ridonkulous.

      Now I just fire up the hotspot on my phone and get service almost as fast as my cablemodem at home and nobody else can [easily] access the data on my WPA2 connection. If I was really paranoid, I'd use wired tethering. Even if I'm really out in the sticks, I still get 3G and that's plenty good for surfing.

      • My guesthouse in bangkok had 16 mbps connection, free for guests. My internet connections in my hotels in Thailand and Cambodia were faster and cheaper than in the US (none of my hotels charged for internet [even the 4* had free internet]). The idea that hotels should be able nickel and dime us for internet is nuts.

      • Hotel wireless is universally crappy in my opinion. You either have to pay some ridiculous fee for it ($10 per day), or its so slow and spotty that I'll have trouble Googling restaurants just to find directions.

        Lately I too have taken to simply tethering my phone to the laptop whenever I'm in a hotel room. The connection is more stable, fast, and never costs extra. I do the wired tether not for security reasons but I like the fact that by connecting it I'm both using my phone and charging it at the same

        • Hotel wireless is universally crappy in my opinion. You either have to pay some ridiculous fee for it ($10 per day), or its so slow and spotty that I'll have trouble Googling restaurants just to find directions.

          My experience has been different - the $10/day Hilton has a content filter, traffic shaping and captive portals with DHCP servers that are sometimes down and unreachable. The manager at the La Quinta ordered a DSL connection, plugged in the box that came in the mail and never did anything else, so i

          • > I sometimes think that the big hotels wish they could get you to agree to an EULA to plug in your shaver to charge.

            It is so refreshing when I join a Wi-Fi network somewhere and I'm immediately online, without any stupid web pages to click "agree" on.

            Every time I find one of these networks in the wild it's like striking gold. Also they are almost invariably fast, since they're not laden with stupid filters and throttling.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 01, 2013 @12:59AM (#44443529)

      Of course it's slow. High speed internet is expensive. Starbucks are locally owned and can't just splurge on faster internet for the freeloaders. The question is how is Google actually going to get higher speeds. They can't just wave a magic wand and suddenly the wires improve. They're going to be eating a lot of cash to upgrade stuff.

      But sheesh, it's coffee. Buy your drink then LEAVE.

      • But sheesh, it's coffee. Buy your drink then LEAVE.

        They want you to stay so they can sell you more stuff. And while I don't do it very often, it is a really handy spot if (for example) you want to hang around someplace for 60-90 minutes rather than drive 30 minutes home and then turn around and drive 30 minutes back because your daughter has an appointment and hasn't seen fit to get her drivers license yet... theoretically...

      • by Zenin ( 266666 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @06:10AM (#44444709) Homepage

        Starbucks are locally owned and [...]

        No, they aren't. With few exceptions they are all 100% company owned (at least in the 'States).

        Starbucks is not a franchise, which is why they've been able to push out so many local coffee shops. With the weight of the entire corporation able to be brought to bear at any single location, they've been able to run locations at a loss for years right next to mom & pop shops. The "genius" here is that they don't need to do better then the mom & pop to win...they simply need to reduce the income of the mom & pop shop enough to make them unprofitable...and then wait them out until they leave. Then with the location clear of competition they get all the business.

        NOT being locally owned is the key to Starbuck's domination.

      • Starbucks is also selling a pleasantly decorated space where its coffee can be enjoyed while surfing the internet. Otherwise, they wouldn't have tables, just a bar in the Italian-style.
    • I think Starbucks uses slow consumer-grade DSL connections

      No, they were probably using business class. I found out that AT&T Business class DSL has only about 1.3Mbps downstream, which is less than worthless and no higher speeds. This is because they want business class customers to go to Leased Lines, which is an absolute Joke.

      • Bingo. I've serviced them plenty of times... it's just ordinary DSL, with a router that gives priority to the store PC (if they choose to use it, many don't), and the best speed test I've ever seen is less than 2Mbps when I was using the 'store manager' Ethernet jack. Pretty pathetic when you split it between 15 customers. Heck, that's pathetic just going to one person.
        • The year was 1996. The place, New York City, center of the known universe. I spent my time solving Quickmail issues at a growing ad agency. 80 users on three floors, all fed through a single 56K modem. It would dial up as needed if no one held the connection open, so sometimes there was a 40 second pause, and if you sat close enough to the server room, you'd hear the tell tale beeps and whirrs of the modem dialing.

          Soon after we upgraded to ISDN, doubling our speeds. Then to a quarter T1. Finally we h

    • by MSG ( 12810 )

      I've experienced the same from time to time, and typically what I find is that someone in the cafe (or more than one person) is/are streaming hi def video and ruining the entire network for everyone.

      • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

        ..if they are streaming and not watching a local video.

        multiples can't ruin it for everyone since they wouldn't be able to stream it themselves even..

    • by adolf ( 21054 )

      Neighbors, perhaps?

      My local coffee shop (not a Starbucks, thankfully) has had free Internet since before WiFi became a thing that was useful -- there are still Ethernet jacks next to the tables.

      Once WiFi went from useful to commonplace, the speeds slowed to a crawl.

      What changed? The neighbors' ability to easily steal bandwidth.

      But lately it's been fast enough: For the past year or so, they've used WPA with a passphrase that changes daily. It's posted on the chalk board with along with the drink specials,

    • I think Starbucks uses slow consumer-grade DSL connections, because that's what it feels like. Upstream capacity is severely limited, and downstream is only slightly less so. I remember attempting a Facetime call and getting less than one frame per second in both directions and constant reconnecting...turned off Wi-Fi and it was smooth as silk.

      You, sir, are correct (source: I used to work for Wayport/AT&T).

    • by Thud457 ( 234763 )

      We are here at Starbucks, where we've secretly replaced the fine wifi they usually serve with Google. Let's see if anyone can tell the difference!"

  • by David Betz ( 2845597 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @11:10PM (#44442985)
    ...Google decides to cancel the service all the sudden.
  • Uh oh.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fred911 ( 83970 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @11:16PM (#44443047)

    Please sign in with your Google+ account and accept our TOS!

    • You spent real money for your latte. Now cough up your real name for YouTube!

    • Re:Uh oh.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @01:09AM (#44443593)

      Please sign in with your Google+ account and accept our TOS!

      Which to be fair, is probably several times less abusive than the AT&T TOS that Starbucks accepted on your behalf.

      • Read them and weep. Google owns your information. Best reason to find a VDI or proxy provider, ever.

        The fools that believe in Google's majesty will live to regret it, IMHO. Not that AT&T is anything nore than Southwestern Bell with lipstick and a stuffed jock.

      • That is hardly true. This isnt coming up to much in conversations but Google is a HUGE advocate of taking your data and making money off of it. They are going to do the same thing at Starbucks. You will have no right to privacy connecting to a Google provided network.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Don't forget to read our special PRISM TOS as well. By denying it you still agree to PRISM's TOS and the denial will be logged and flagged for suspicion.

    • Anything on slashdot about Google, draws ms shills like flies to shit.

      Okay, all together now: " GOOGLE IS EVIL!!!! EVIL!!! EVIL!!"

  • by bengoerz ( 581218 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @11:19PM (#44443069)
    Google demonstrates ability to rapidly expand their carrier services nationwide through partnering with established carriers. Passersby injured from falling bricks shat from oligolpolistic ISPs atop their high horses.
  • It more than likely will not mean faster Internet speeds for customers, but they will have mow bandwidth so more customers can get online. Most free wi-fi hotspots cap bandwidth at 1 MBPS. That gives enough for basic web surfing and email, and maybe the occasional short YouTube clip. But it's not enough for heavy use, like watching Netflix or BitTorrent. Places like Starbucks probably want to keep it that way, too -- more customer turnover = more money. More happy customers that can access wi-fi easier = mo
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fermion ( 181285 )
      It is possible that Google will use this opportunity to collect data, track the users across networks, This will probably be very valuable. Hooking up directly to Google hardware will likely allow them to snoop and collect data not accessible through generic hardware. Last time I was in a Starbucks I had to click through an advertisement, so clearly Starbucks and ATT are not seeing a lot of inhernet value in the current arrangement.

      This value may translate into allowances for higher speeds. They could a

  • From "search" to "mobile" to "telecom" .. Way to go?

  • Well, at least all the starbuck leeches will have another reason to sit in starbucks all day long. Free wi-fi. Never been in one, but friends say that they sometimes see the same people with their laptops & phones just sitting there all day long leeching off their wifi. cheap to pay for it themselves, so they just leech off someone else.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I am a Starbucks customer. Yes, I leech too.

      I have to face it. I am single. I cannot economically justify the expense of a personal high-speed internet connection, and the way web pages are coded these days, using a low speed connection is next to useless for anything but google searches.

      I do buy their coffee while I am in there, and consider the markup on the cup of coffee about right for providing me access to the net. Yes, there are some leeches, but most I see are people who really need this...
      • I live too far out for high speed, & until I got a personal hotspot, I would use McDonalds & Starbucks a lot. What I noticed was that I got more personal space at McDonalds. Most of their money seems to be made at the drive-through, and so long as I'm occupying a table, that's one they don't have to wipe when they pass through the place on their rounds. They seem relieved that I don't want to talk to them. Something about Starbucks always makes me feel like I'm being rude by ignoring everyone an
    • It's hard for me to call people spending 5 dollars on a cup of coffee, leaches.

    • I'm one of those leeches. I leech WiFi at Starbucks because my best network connectivity option at home is tethering through my cell phone. I'm too far from the telco switch to get even basic DSL, and cable TV is not available in my rural area. That's just the price I pay for wanting to live on a large property instead of in a suburban tract home.

  • by WOOFYGOOFY ( 1334993 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @11:36PM (#44443169)

    please please come to my starbucks. Oh god please let them come to my starbucks.

  • McDonald's too? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by macraig ( 621737 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [giarc.a.kram]> on Thursday August 01, 2013 @12:00AM (#44443259)

    I wonder if this also includes McDonald's, which has the same WiFi contract with AT&T?

    • by adolf ( 21054 )

      "Same contract" as in "one stack of paper with both Starbucks and McDonald's listed at the top of it"?

      Possible, but extremely doubtful.

      Much, much more likely: A minimum of one contract per entity. Srsly. Get out of your bubble once in a while.

    • by Evro ( 18923 ) *

      Are McDonalds and Starbucks affiliated somehow? Why would something at Starbucks affect McDonalds?

  • Even when I go to a 24 hr location that isn't packed, I get ridiculous ping times (why yes I have checked. This is ./). That wouldn't bother me but sometimes I like to work outside of the house and drop some cash at the nearest Starbucks, and I need a usable internet connection to do my work.
    Also fuck AT&T.
  • And this brings to a end my ever using the free internet at Starbucks. It was fun while it lasted but Privacy & Not being tracked the packet level > a few bucks saved. Go Fuck Yourself Mr Do No Evil. Citizen 165258 does not agree with your corporate plan. Google can pry my privacy from my cold dead hands.

    I would like to thank The Academy, my family and fans. Thank you and Good Night.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Awww, wook at this cutsie-wootsie who thought AT&T wouldn't think to twack him "at the packet level" at Stawbucks! Who's my pwecious naive sillyhead? You are, yes you are!

      • by macbass ( 868593 )
        At least AT&T was honest about it, whereas "Do No Evil" Google is only slightly more transparent than the NSA. I agree with Taantric that Starbucks is off my list of places to go for WiFi.
        • Consider the article in question. Specifically what is google doing that is sooooo very "evil?"

          BTW: MS is far worse privacy violator than Google.

    • Actually, aren't you "Citizen 2587965"?
  • by Rhyas ( 100444 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @02:48AM (#44443981) Journal

    It will be Level 3 equipment/network [] instead of AT&T for this deal.

  • I'd like to have a word with their upgrade team. Seems very inefficient to make that many call-outs just to upgrade one location.

  • Seriously. Starbucks is about the best example of the 'Emperor's Clothes' syndrome in the fast food market. Their burnt, overroasted coffee is atrocious!

  • Or, will I still have to find "Wayport Access" at McDonalds? If I remember correctly, the Google sponsored WiFi at SeaTac airport is Linux friendly.
  • So, with this change, will Starbucks now be offering free apps/music through Google Play for Android devices or only continue to offer through iTunes/iOS?

  • Can they replace Starbuck's at Starbuck's while they're at it?

  • to improve the lives of freelance writers around the country. Starting in August, Google plans to make Internet speeds at all 7,000

    If your writing requires more baud than a dial-up BBS to upload, you're doing it wrong... That or your caffeine has been replaced by amphetamines.

    • That or your caffeine has been replaced by amphetamines.

      Well, we are talking about Starbucks coffee after all...

  • A data bonanza, all that traffic going through their pipe, using their DNS it will be glorious....

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