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August 26, 2009



On the surface, Verizon's offer does look generous indeed, until you look at finer points of their offer.

You don't get access to Boingo's entire network, only about 14,000 of their domestic hotspots.

Over 10,000 of those missing hotspots are McDonald's locations- they are not included in the offer.

Verizon DSL customers You do get free Starbucks and Barnes and Noble Wi-Fi, which account for about 7,500 of the 14,000. But wait: Anyone can already access their Wi-Fi for free.

Finally, this offer applies to Windows users only. Mac, Linux and Wi-Fi-enabled mobile devices need not apply.

Verizon's offer make a great press release but in reality, it's quite limited.

Free (and Not So Free) Wi-Fi at McDonald's


Yes, but 14,000 free WiFi hotspots are more than the zero we had going in. Verizon high speed broadband for my home costs around $30 a month. I share it with 3 kids and my wife, and we all are on the Internet all the time. So, when Verizon adds 14,000 opportunities for us to access the net on the road, it seems pretty generous to me.


You're right, there's no point in criticizing Verizon for giving its customers more for their money and that wasn't my intention.

I wrote in to correct a few common misconceptions repeated in your article, specifically:

* McDonald's is not included in the free Wi-Fi offer.

* Of Boingo's 24,000+ North American hotspots, Verizon customers only have access to 14,000.

* Of the 14,000, 7,500 (Starbucks and Barnes & Noble) are already free to everyone, leaving a total of 6,500 hotspots that are free to Verizon customers.

Free (and Not So Free) McDonald's Wi-Fi


Isn't the free Starbuck's access limited to an hour or two? I seem to remember that, although I prefer to drink coffee and compute at home and the office. However, if that is true, then the Verizon deal is better, because all access would be free without a time limit.


Hi Rick,

That is correct: Starbucks free Wi-Fi is limited to two consecutive hours per day according to their web site.



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Lawyer,Poet, author, educator. Practices real property, corporation, wills, trusts and estates law in Pinellas County, Florida. Writes the FutureLawyer column. Gives seminars on technology and the law. Author of "Life is Simple, Really", Poems about Life, Loving, Family and Fun, and "Poems For Lovers".

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