updated 10:25 pm EST, Tue December 15, 2009
Restaurant drops Wi-Fi fees
McDonald's tonight revealed that its Wi-Fi hotspots will soon be free. The fast food chain is dropping its previous $3, two-hour rate as of mid-January as an effort to turn its stores into "destinations" where customers are encouraged to stay for longer periods and use their notebooks or smartphones.
These changes also accompany a change in menu that will focus on more coffees and desserts that wouldn't normally accompany a meal by themselves.
The free access steps up competition with Starbucks and other coffee chains, many of which either already offer access for free or else have charged similar amounts to attract customers to their own locations. It may also impact AT&T, as it provides Internet access to both of the food vendors and has potentially stood to profit from frequent visitors. [via WSJ]