Aussie Wi-Fi lost with Starbucks' stores

Starbucks plans to close 61 of its 84 coffee shops in Australia stores, which will likely result in at least half of its Telstra wireless broadband hotspots dropping off the radar.

Starbucks plans to close 61 of its 84 coffee shops in Australia stores, which will likely result in at least half of its Telstra wireless broadband hotspots dropping off the radar.

Starbucks currently has 37 stores equipped with Telstra's wireless hotspot service, with 11 located in Victoria, six in Queensland, 17 in New South Wales, and three in Canberra.

However, announcing its plans yesterday, Starbucks committed to keeping just 23 stores open in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, meaning that Canberra is likely to lose all three of its Starbucks Wi-Fi hotspots. The closures would see the loss of at least 14 other stores in the states it will maintain operations in.

It was still uncertain as to which stores in these states will remain open, according to a spokesperson from the coffee giant's publicity agency Edelman.

Both the coffee giant and Telstra declined to comment on the fate of the Wi-Fi hotspots.

Starbuck's customers in South Australia and Tasmania, however, will only miss the coffee since none of the four stores in those states were equipped with Wi-Fi.

According to a media spokeperson for the company, there may be further changes announced along with its earnings in the US tonight.

It is still unclear as to whether any IT staff have been affected by the planned closures. The spokesperson told ZDNet.com.au that Starbucks is in a "media blackout" until the earnings announcement.

Starbucks has been a key outlet for Telstra's wireless hotspot service, which includes numerous hotels, fast-food chain McDonalds, and Qantas lounges. Telstra claims it has over 1,000 hotspots in Australia, with McDonalds being its largest partner.

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