AT&T must now feel like T-Mobile. Back in 2008, T-Mobile got the boot from Starbucks locations in terms of free wi-fi, and on Wednesday, Google announced that, starting soon, it will be taking over from AT&T.
Google said that its service would be far faster than AT&T’s, up to 10x faster than before. Those who live in a Google Fiber city will see speeds up to 100x faster, the Internet giant added.
When your local Starbucks WiFi network goes Google, you’ll be able to surf the web at speeds up to 10x faster than before. If you’re in a Google Fiber city, we’re hoping to get you a connection that’s up to 100x faster.
Back in June, Starbucks and Google announced that they had partnered, and that Starbucks surfers would be able to stream unlimited songs, radio and more from Google’s recently launched All Access music service.
Google plans on beginning the roll-out in August, starting with the locations where wi-fi use is highest. The company expects to complete the transition in about 18 months. You’ll know your Starbucks location has Google wi-fi when you see the “Google Starbucks” SSID.
Google will make the upgrades in concert with Level 3. Currently, Starbucks locations are connected via a T1 line supplying 1.5Mbps. Level 3 and Google will upgrade each location’s set-up so that the store will receive speeds that are approximately 10 times faster. The actual result, naturally, will vary from store to store.
Starbucks Chief Digital Officer Adam Brotman said that while Starbucks hadn’t been looking to move away from AT&T, it was in constant conversations with Google about possible ways to partner. Providing faster wi-fi to customers is one such way.
AT&T said that it made its own proposal to Starbucks, also offering up to a 10x faster network. AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel noted:
Starbucks continues to be an important partner for us, and we continue to provide them with a variety of services over AT&T’s advanced network, including the nation’s fastest, most reliable LTE network.
1.5Mbps may sound fast, but when you consider the bandwidth being spread across a number of users, it can end up dragging. In a recent incident we experienced, about 20 students that appeared to be from a foreign exchange program came into a Starbucks at once. The network soon slowed to a crawl as they all logged into wi-fi.