Next year could be when free Wi-Fi becomes as ubiquitous as the Dollar Menu thanks to a recent announcement by McDonald's that nearly every Golden Arches location will begin offering free wireless Internet beginning in January. Currently, the service, costs $2.95 for 2 hours of service at 11,000 McDonald's restaurants across the country, but come January it will be as free as the McDonald's PlayPlace playgrounds.
Offering free Wi-Fi is clearly a move to pull in more coffee shop clientele, who would normally search for a Starbucks, Panera and other non-fast-food locations that offer free Wi-Fi in one form or another. Panera and many other coffeehouses offer a free connection to anyone who walks in the door and Starbucks since 2008 has provided free wireless to anyone who makes a purchase once a month.
Whether or not a Big Mac is your favorite food, you can't argue with the convenience of free Wi-Fi at thousands of locations; many close to busy interstate highways. While exits in bigger cities are sure to have a coffeehouse or Starbucks close by; anyone traveling a long stretch of mid-Western asphalt will be happy to know that their next Internet fix is only a pair of Golden Arches away.
It's clear from past advertising, like the video shown below, that McDonald's wants coffee shop customers but not necessarily the coffee shop "hipsters." But the chain better be prepared to deal with another coffee shop regular come January; the Wi-Fi squatter who, most certainly, won't want fries with that.
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