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March 06, 2012


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It's probably because of that guy I saw the other day that brought in his 27" television set and his XBox and was playing games on it!
I was wondering why he didn't have a Surrondsound system hooked up.also? He's probably slowing it down.
True Story!!


Since last week, my store has been receiving complaints every day about the wifi.

Jeff Tom

1. Internet is a perk. NOT a guaranteed service. It is available. You are not promised anything in regards to bandwidth. It sucks. Deal with it. It is what it is.

2. Yes. It is being throttled. No, it is not formal company policy, it is left to the discretion of sevice provider who shares the bandwidth as THEY see fit.

3. However, you get FANTASTIC speeds accessing the SB portal/affiliated products from within the store. As Starbucks is a money-making endeavour, that is its purpose/intent, to drive sales to the Company.

4. Thank you, and come again.

No, I do not now, nor have I ever worked for Starbucks. I know many, many people that do (impressive, I know!)


Part of the problem in some areas is that the connection to AT&T is via the cellphone circuits rather than fiber/cable/copper.

Starbucks Gossip webmaster

ROBERT -- SEND ME YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS TO starbucksgossip@yahoo.com . I want more info on this Xbox episode.

Michael Miller

Download speeds consistently top out at 50-60 KB/s at Starbucks stores, in my recent experience. Right now I'm getting 140 at an indie coffeehouse, where I've gotten 300+ in the past. I think Jeff Tom's assessment is correct. The only question is what the enduring attraction will be if Starbucks continues to serve espresso machine drinks that are on a par with the Tassimo and other home single-serve coffee machines.


Internet speeds running as usual at my starbucks (moderately fast, that is)

Jeff Tom

I am in teh Seattle market. I frequent (way too frequent) Starbucks locations all over the dsowntown area, as well as Eastside and surrounding communities. It has been in teh last year that bandwidth has taken such a definite and noticeable and unexamplained drop. It can ONLY be intentional. Quality of service is POOR, regardless of location and number of customers that "may" be using the service.


I was at a hotel for an extended stay once and the Wi-Fi there was below dial-up speeds. And I believe it was AT&T, or one of their offshoots, maybe Uverse. Anyhow, I told the front desk of the hotel, and they told me it had been that way ever since they switched to AT&T (again I think it was them). They seemed incapable of fixing it. It was too slow for even opening web-pages unless you were extremely patient.

You can say it's a perk and not a right, but if someone is paying to stay at a hotel or consume products at a Starbucks, they might choose to go elsewhere if the service is bad.

Super Supervisor

Our customers have complained that the service has been slow lately, but I would most likely blame that on the 10 lap tops and 2 ipads I counted being used in our SMALL cafe of only 6 tables and 4 arm chairs. Of which half of these users were streaming either videos, music, or movies. 5 of the tables had 1 laptop each. The four seater table had 4 laptops of which the same 4 men inhabit this table EVERY DAY for 4-5 hours (gaming group? gambling? bookees?) And then the 2 ipads were being utilized in the armchair area.
So I can only blame the slowness on the huge sharing of the bandwidth by these 12 wireless devices.....
Not going to lie, but sometimes I wish people would treat Starbucks like the cafe it was meant to be: enjoy your coffee, socialize with friends, meet up and cultivate relationships. Not a place to just become a hermit on an electronic wireless device. Go home and do that, head to your local, quiet library, or head to your office.
And please don't have a speaker conference call in the lobby about your work in the middle of the morning rush while getting irritated that the music and people around you are too loud. REALLY?
Too many people = too little bandwidth.. OH and lets not forget the 4 or 5 people utilizing our wireless from the parking lot in their cars that we can see from our patio.

So Paul, even though there are not many people in your local starbucks, you need to realize that others could be using the FREE service from outside the lobby area.


@Super Supervisor: I see cars in the parking lot with laptop users. Tonight, there was 1 car with 4 laptops. FOUR! I'm just grateful they didn't take up table space.

Adam Lewis

Psychopathy to earn maximum profits. Forget about PEOPLE, maximum profits ONLY!

Coffee Soldier

I just heard on the radio today that ATT was going to be throttling customers who used over a certain amount of data per month. I have Verizon so didn't really pay attention but wonder if this situation has anything to do with their new data plan regulations? I didn't know what throttling was until I came on here! I just said to another partner last week our internet connection seemed to be lagging in the cafe. I just chalked it up to I could see 6 people on laptops and more with cell phones and i-pads in their hands but now it has left me wondering!


10 dollars a day for drinks food and slow wifi, why don't you just pay for your own wifi at home and have all the bandwidth to yourself. I hate how people act like Starbucks owes them an office atmosphere. Next they will complain that we don't have copiers and faxes for public use. It's a coffee shop, if you want to do your work here, please come, you are welcome, but we aren't your office. Don't complain if we can't offer you quiet, or super fast Internet.


We always have a lobby full of wireless-engaged shellfish eating up our internet and our seating. Half are there most days for about 5 hours or so, and only about a third ever buy anything. Every night when I close they meander out to their cars and I can see the faint white-blue glow from their laptops and iPads coming form their cars.
So, I've started unplugging the wireless as I leave each night.
We also have had a couple hipsters in the store who bust out their SNES and play for a few hours at a time. They are courteous enough however to rig it up to their laptop and not bring in a tv!

Barista Ben

I have to agree, at my old store we were pretty sure the shops next to us were using our wifi too. You might have 15-20 people (it was a very large store) using the wifi at once and we had people who would camp out overnight playing Starcraft outside while we were closed.

All that being said, it didn't really bother me, it was more just a "woah thats crazy" kind of thought.

Jeff Tom

I admit I am guilty of the drive to starbucks a night and mooch the internet during a 4 day period when i moved out of one apartment into another, and was waiting on Comcast to install the new internet service. I felt like such a loser, but justified it with the amount I spend there.


Working at a Barnes & Noble cafe, I was wondering: do you at Starbucks get people griping about lack of outlets? I get at least five people complaining every other day about how "you guys need more outlets!!! How am I supposed to plug in?!?" :/

Denmark Guevarra

Perhaps it depends upon the store but we may never know what they are doing.

Barista Ben

Yeah Martha it happens depending on the store design (obviously). I've worked at a store with plenty of outlets and I have a friend who works at a store with only two outlets, the rest are on the ceiling because of all the windows. People are not happy, but there isn't much we can do.

Sam Brown

I am amazed by the fact that these store turds, with all their technocity, are too stupid to bring in a 2 dollar AC extension cord. If you're going to sit there all day.....


Carrying an extension cord is not cool.


Reply to Martha - my sister works at B&N and she said they are deliberately covering/removing outlets to discourage the people lying on the floor using laptops, et al now that they've removed the comfy chairs.


Was in a SF Bay area store yesterday and noticed this as well. It seems like it was not really dependent on how many other users were there... I got so fed up I ended up using my VZW hotspot. I hope this is not a sign of things to come.


@whirlyite--I've from a pretty small store, so we don't mind if people use "hallway" outlets, as long as they're not in other peoples way. We DID have to move all of the non-cafe/newsstand chairs, though, due to shoplifters hanging out in the corners... :(


My store has gotten complaints about this too. Unfortunately, there isn't much we can do! It's an issue that must be resolved between the provider (AT&T) and the corporate folks who manage our service and pay the WiFi bills. My best suggestion would be to contact Starbucks at the corporate office and make your voice heard.

And to the avid internet browsers and business people, don't yell at your baristas about it!! Many of the aspects of our store are beyond our control, and we all know that getting yelled at over something we can't do anything about is the worst.


I've been a partner since '07, and I'm a student so I often stay after shifts to do work using the internet. Ever since WIFI became free two or three years ago, the speeds have been significantly slower. All the partners at my store know about this. I usually have to watch videos for my labs or download podcasts etc., and I no longer do this because of the time it takes. This speed slowing occured several years ago and is not a new problem down south.


People will never stop complaining about free shet, dont think because you spent 10 dollars of which you got goods for you are entitled to download gigabytes in seconds.


This is why partners think licensed stores don`t know what they are doing. Because of losers like this dude. He thinks the CF recipe is the same as the decaf recipe for shots. Oh man: http://mystarbucksidea.force.com/ideaview?id=08750000000HyhYAAS

Janice Cox

It seems slower than usual in the Fresno/Clovis area, too. I'm not a heavy user--net surfing while eating lunch, mostly--but even that is getting hard, even in mostly empty stores.


Sometimes I do a Speedtest on the dsl speed....it usually says 1300 kbs down. Which would be the cheapest at home AT&T DSL speed.

I tested my Droid 4 phone with Verizon 4G LTE from the same comfy chair.....20000 kbs down. (20 megs a second...it is a SCREAMER)


The store has nothing to do with it. What people don't understand is that the store uses the same Internet connection that the customers do so it's not something that Starbucks is doing intentionally to get customers out of their lobby - they want customers to stay all day so they spend more money. I think that the problem is that AT&T has started using shady tactics on its customers (one of which is Starbucks) and Starbucks can't get out of the contract quite yet. It doesn't really make sense for Starbucks to purposely slow down Internet that managers and baristas rely on for their jobs since all of their e-mail, documents and training programs for baristas are web based and not stored on their local computers. In California, all managers are hourly, therefore if they slow down the Internet then any time their employees have to do work online it will take twice as long. Sometimes the manager can call into the help desk and they can reset the connection but typically it doesn't work.

You also have to take into account that many more people are using wifi these days. Not just people on laptops, but almost everyone who has a smartphone now has wifi. They don't want to go over on their data plans so if they're closely to free wifi they tap into it.


If I would have to guess I would say it's because of all the people running packet sniffers on the network to steal your passwords. Each person who does a "man in the middle attack" is routing all the traffic through their laptop. I normally see at LEAST one person doing it every time I go to SB.


I think it is great that Starbucks tried to give free wifi. I sometimes need to work from somewhere when out from the office/home, I used to use Starbucks and it was fine. But lately it has been so slow it is unusable to even browse simple web sites. I understand Starbucks is in business to make money, but if one of there benefits they offer is so bad that customers (IE: me) go elsewhere they are losing business from a bad service and spending money on the attwifi as well. So, Starbucks, either make the wifi usable or do away with it completlely. It is useless and driving away customers as it is now.

Starbucksgossip Webmaster

You hit the nail on the head, Bill.

Starbucks/ATT Wi-Fi is awful, and many times I've walked out of the store in disgust.

Go to Peet's or even Panera for better Wi-Fi.

Pret a Manger has the best Wi-Fi.

Starbucks has really fucked up with its Wi-Fi offering.



Speeds at my local Starbucks are around 50 to 100 kb/s. A non-chain coffee shop in the area runs in the several hundred kb/s. Been going to the independent cafe more lately for that reason.


Ticked off customer

I'm sitting in a Starbucks in SF right now and am barely hitting 40 kb/s. I'm not expecting a whole lot for a free service (and it's not really free; I just bought a drink and I've only been sitting here for about ten minutes, so I'm hardly mooching), but it should be possible to watch a YouTube video (non-HD) without it stopping every four seconds for buffering.

Sure, there are a good number of laptop users in the store right now, but that's nothing new. Ultimately, providing me with unusable wifi just pisses me off more than if there wasn't any wifi to begin with or if I had to pay.


Whenever I got to a starbucks or Fed Ex Kinkos in the NYC area. I sometimes get speeds slower than 56k. And thats with no one else with a laptop in the store.

It's the same when I went to a kinkos in DC. The downtown one near DC's Chinatown.

Starbucks and Kinkos should shop for a better internet service. 56k or below is not acceptable in 2012. I don't stay there all day either. I'd go to a library if I wanted to do that. By the way. NYPL has up to 10 mbps a sec, starbucks tops out at 1.5 mbps a sec. That's if you're extremely lucky.


It has nothing to do with one person 'hogging' the internet. Starbucks and AT&T are purposely throttling the internet and restricting each user to a certain slice of bandwidth. This is understandable to allow each user enough bandwidth to actually use it and prevent someone from 'hogging" it, but It's still very aggravating because they have it set so slow. One can barely get anything done.


I have been using free Starbucks for sometime - "office on the road". Speeds have significantly dropped even with very few other people in the store. It is not a matter of many users, since as was noted the slowdown is consistent throughout the day.
All are right - it is free but I have converted to using my Verizon hotspot with 10Mb-20Mb/sec throughput to get a usable experience.


It's a race to the bottom. I buy coffee to be fair when I want to plop down and use the internet. In my mind a purchase every hour or so of Internet is fair. Starbucks advertise free Internet so receiving it is tied to a purchase. It's been a nightmare for me though. Half the time I sit down after a purchase the internet fights with me just to connect then crawls and I stick around for a half hour to see if it clears up. Sometimes it works for might light web needs. I've been trying to figure out patterns for several years now trying to figure out if certain stores work, if it depends on how many are using it etc. looking back it was a horrible trek I should have never pursued. The where times I fought stubbornly for two hours I don't know why..hoping to figure out something once and for all. I've bought coffee at one Starbucks and took the drink to two other stores in search of a useable connection before and somehow have similar bizarre stories from tring to adapt. It clear that Starbucks and att dont care about thir customers. We are supposed to evolve to handing over our money slinking out the door one way or another. AT&T break all municipal and free wifi hotspots in the knee caps purposely because a culture of free wifi is at odds with selling limited 3G services to each device. A good AT&T customer pays for home Internet, a 2 gig/month cellphone plan, and a 2 gig a month tablet plan not to mention a text plan etc. a basic understanding of all involved would take pages to understand. Sadly the almost all people would gleefully shut me down as a complainer in a half second rather than learn to read 20 pages of issues that matter. Ok now I'm visibly upset and stepping down.


Try another coffee shop, such as Peet's Coffee and Tea, that doesn't have a throttling service provider. Peet's also sells $100 (5 $20 cards) for $80 at Costco. Take care.


The problem with slow wifi is in the most of the coffee shops not only Starbucks and the main reason is people streaming movies and other content. Today I was planning to do some work in a local Starbucks. The connection was so bad that I could not even connect to a ssh terminal which is how I do my job (and my typical utilization is about 10mb/hour). When I scanned the active wifi connections I found 3 Apple devices (most likely iPads) "using" most of the bandwidth (which in fact is not too much). I was not able to do any terminal connections because the Access point was overloaded with the traffic from most likely streaming videos (Netflix, etc...). I understand that the people have the right to use their tablets and other "cool" devices and watch movies, listen music, skype or what ever else they do with them but I believe that the internet provider in these coffee shops (AT&T in this case) should use QoS/Loadbalancing technologies to give less priority on such traffic and this way to make the connection available for all the customers and not only the movie maniacs. Simple load balancing will solve all these issues. The problem is I don't think the coffee shop management or AT&T cares about.


It started to suck once they stopped using T-Mobile. All AT&T WiFi sucks


It finally hit here in Austin, TX. I've been a frequent goer at three different Starbucks locations, primarily the one by my school, but since last week I've just noticed that it is impossible for me to use ANY Internet if at all! That goes to all three locations.
When I spoke with the managers they all said the same thing, "it's most likely due to all the customers using the data". I looked around me and did not see a single customer with their laptop/iPad/or even on their phones. I'm starting to dislike them and will most likely go to the 24hr coffee shops until they fix this problem.


I use Starbucks as a coffice and have noticed the last couple of days I can't get on the internet at all. I suspect they are finally trying to push me out. I can connect fine to their wifi, but it won't let me get beyond that point.

(typing this from that same starbucks,.. using my at&t mifi device) (my backup plan)


I wouldn't EVER go into a Starbucks without the wifi weather or not its a "perk". I have always thought SB wifi was slow anyway and prefer public libraries or other places, like independent bookstores. I really think the whole "upscale" thing is for insecure people who are looking for ways to perform their imaginary elitism while at the same time wanting to feel that they are a part of something and therefore cool. Starbucks knows, by way of psychology and market research how low you are willing to go. They only want the needy whether the need is caffein or the need to belong or to seem cooler-than-thou. THis is a b.s. topic. Don't count on corps to give you the things you need. Create them, find them, get them from friends, family and community.Starbucks is a buisness looking to keep down costs and increase profits. Expect nothing from them but manipulation.


This seems to be true at most Starbucks now as I have also experienced slower than usual connections while patronizing the local coffee bistro's. I am sitting in one now actually, just next door to a hotel that I am staying in and its WIFI is MUCH faster and more responsive than the Starbucks/AT&T WIFI. And I'm actually sitting in the Starbucks and able to connect to the hotel WIFI and can easily compare the difference.


The funny thing is. People still are going to get their coffee and use the "internet" or "slithernet." hahaha

Starbucks is still raking in the cash and doesn't care. Once their sales start declining things'll change.

Chris K

I love this line people always drop about this and other things:

"It's free! You don't like it, go somewhere else!"

Surprised there's no recommendation to put on "your big boy pants"

Look, people want to go to Starbucks and use the internet. Starbucks obviously intends for people to be able to do that. It could realistically be costing them business. The point here - and I'm sure at the stores - is to inform them of it and hopefully make their own experience as a customer better.

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