Why Starbucks is smart to offer free Internet access.

Innovation, the Internet, gadgets, and more.
June 15 2010 4:30 PM

Wi-Fi Wants To Be Free

Starbucks is smart to stop charging for Internet access. Fancy hotels should follow suit.

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And when it does, the hotels will really feel the pinch. Why buy Wi-Fi in your room when you can get it with your latte in the morning? Or, heck, skip the latte. The Internet is free.

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Correction, June 15, 2010: This article originally stated that McDonald's began offering Wi-Fi last year. The company announced its plan last year but did not begin service until mid-January. (Return to the corrected sentence.)

Farhad Manjoo is a technology columnist for the New York Times and the author of True Enough.