Now that every Tom Dick and Harry knows about it and has jumped on, the free wifi at Starbucks has now, not particularly surprisingly, become the free slow wifi at Starbucks.
When I paid for the Starbucks in the wifi in the past it seemed to be functional, but informal tests conducted by this reporter at three different Manhattan Starbucks this afternoon between 42nd st and 30th st and found the service to be pretty laggy and barely usable, with slow page loads and general slothfulness.
At each of the three locations I made sure to do my part to undermine the future viability of the free wfii system by not buying a single item from Starbucks.
However, recently when I used the wifi at a Starbucks located in the 120s at Malcom X Boulevard, there were no speed problems, probably because there was only one other person with a laptop there and nobody in line banging on a smartphone.
I guess the secret to using Starbucks free wifi is to only go to Starbucks in poor neighborhoods.