Last summer I posted a couple of blog posts about free wifi and coffee. In August I noted that some coffee shops in LA were getting rid of the free wifi because of problems with people nursing a single coffee and using the wifi all day and the way that a place full of people just using laptops would “kill” the atmosphere. In July I did think, despite Ofcom’s warning that providers of free wifi would be held liable for the actions of users on their network, that we probably would still have free wifi, but we would need to register to use it.
Since then I have noted a couple of things, my local coffee shop (a Costa franchise) has free wifi and it does have strings, you need to register before you can use the internet, and you need to have a code from the barista. So we have no “no strings” wifi there.
However I was pleased to see one of my favourite coffee chains (not sure if this is the case with all branches) have moved away from an expensive wifi hotspot model to free wifi model.
They are using the The Cloud and from the marketing material in the cafe it did appear that this wasn’t a “no strings” wifi arrangement, you would need to probably register.
I only had my iPhone on me, so I decided to use that and give it a go, and was pleasantly surprised to find that once connected to the wifi I was good to go and no need to register. Now of course with my phone deal I have free wifi with The Cloud and BT Openzone so I am guessing that this was the reason I didn’t need to register as I already had at some other The Cloud wifi hotspot.
Now don’t get me wrong I much prefer conversations with my coffee, but if I am on my own and drinking coffee it’s nice to have some internet access to get on with a few e-mail or have an online conversation.
However I am hoping that as a result of Caffé Nero’s free wifi that other coffee places will follow suit.