Finding an Internet connection can be a problem for travelers, especially those on business trips. While most hotels offer Internet service, it usually costs an additional fee, and can only be accessed in a designated location such as the lounge or conference room. Hence, when people are on the road and want to get connected, they head to the bastion of wireless: the local coffee shop.
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However, not every town in America has its own coffee shop, which is why it’s important to keep tabs on the national establishments that can be found anywhere. And best yet, the majority of them offer wireless for free in a quest to get people through their doors and sipping their lattes. McDonald’s, for instance, not only started competing with Starbucks by serving gourmet coffee, it tried to one up the coffee giant by providing customers with free wireless. Starbucks, who had been charging for the service, followed suit and even eliminated browsing time limits in all of its locations.
The golden arches isn’t the only restaurant to offer wireless. Specialty sandwich shop Panera Bread also lets patrons link up to the Web for free. For those that prefer a little peace and quiet, major bookstore retailers Barnes & Noble and Borders provide wireless capabilities for their shoppers, who can then read an actual book or digital one online. McDonald’s, Starbucks and Barnes & Noble use AT&T as their wireless carriers without the need to create an account. Of course, a drink or item has to be purchased.