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Starbucks plans to pay for its free Wi-Fi with a walled garden

 by John Moe // Posted: 08/12/10 03:55 PM

Unlike many coffee shops, Starbucks has long been stubborn about giving away free Wi-Fi access to customers, choosing instead to build membership programs and other limited accounts. A few months ago they gave up and said fine, sure, free Wi-Fi, whatever. Mashable has an interview with a company executive who explains an upcoming Starbucks Digital Network which will have content like the New York Times, games, some kind of Apple iTunes interface. Companies pay to be included, other advertisers pay to advertise there. It seems like a win-win but it also seems a bit like AOL from many years ago: a potentially useful obstacle to getting to the actual internet.

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today's show

What will we do with all this "white space"?

09/26/10 11:15 AM

There’s a vote coming up this week in Washington that will have a big impact on how you use the internet, what’s available to you, how much faster you’ll be able to get things online. On Thursday, the FCC is expected to open up unused parts of the broadcast spectrum, a lot of people call it “white space”. This is space that was positioned to be something of a buffer between television stations but such padding is proving less essential since the conversion to digital TV.

On today’s show, we talk to Glenn Fleishman from Wi-Fi Networking News and The Economist about how the spectrum works and what kind of new space we’re talking about. We also check in with Tim Wu from Columbia Law School about the companies that will look to use the space and what it all might mean for you and me as internet consumers.

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