As announced on Starbucks's Twitter feed:
We're very excited to announce that coming July 1st: Free. 1 click. No registration WIFI at all US locations! 🙂
This is apparently part of an exciting new business strategy for SBUX—"free access to paid content":
According to Starbucks, this new service, called the "Starbucks Digital Network," will give users who surf the Internet from U.S. company owned stores access to "various paid sites and services such as wsj.com, exclusive content and previews, free downloads, local community news and activities, on their laptops, tablets or smart phones." Besides the Wall Street Journal, Starbucks' partners include Apple's iTunes, The New York Times, Patch, USA TODAY, Yahoo and ZAGAT.
What's unclear here is who's paying who for all this awesome stuff. The content is a loss-leader for the Wi-Fi access, and the Wi-Fi is a loss-leader for the coffee. Is Starbucks paying the NYT and WSJ for premium content in hopes that more people will come to its stores than already are?