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Starbuck's sells free WiFi access

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If they can sell burnt, ruined coffee at premium prices, why not wireless Web access one could have for free? So goes the reasoning behind Starbucks' decision to offer WiFi at $30.00 a month in Portland, Oregon's Pioneer Square, where free access is already provided by grassroots outfit Personal Telco.

According to this item in The Oregonian, Starbuck's is muscling in on the same channel already taken by PT, with the result that users of both services are enjoying degraded performance -- only those going through Starbuck's are enjoying it at a premium price.

The company is using T-Mobile, a VoiceStream outfit, as their provider. Those who desire access outside the downtown 'WiFi free zone' are welcome to shell out $50.00 a month for coverage in airports and other Starbuck's stores.

As the turf war warms up, we have to wonder if PT can give away what a slick marketing illusionist like Starbuck's can sell.

If they can make billions hustling the worst coffee I've ever tasted outside institutional settings, well, no doubt this initiative will go quite nicely. ®

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