MacBook Air Diary-Day 20: Cutting the cord

Yesterday, I blogged about traveling light and paring down my computer bag down to a MacBook Air in a simple sleeve. Today I want to ween myself off wired network connections.

Starbucks brews up a WiFi deal with AT&T, kicking T-Mobile to the curb
Yesterday, I blogged about traveling light and paring down my computer bag down to a MacBook Air in a simple sleeve. Today I want to ween myself off wired network connections.

For some, going 100 percent wireless borders on blasphemy (with its inherent security issues, lack of hot spots, usurious fees, etc.) but for this journalist pure wireless is the way to go.

The absolute icing on the cake was last week's announcement that Starbucks was switching to AT&T for WiFi Internet access in all of their 7,000 U.S. stores. Glen Fleishman thinks that the switch could be a harbinger of a larger deal between Starbucks and Apple to woo iPhone customers:

I think... that we'll see the 3G iPhone rolled out as part of a larger play that involves downloading movies in Starbucks over AT&T's new network.

But his piece contained a bigger bombshell that could be earth shattering for wireless road warriors.

The deal yesterday brings Wi-Fi at 7,000 U.S. company-owned Starbucks stores at no additional cost to 7 million AT&T DSL subscribers.

Come again? This means that if I subscribe to AT&T DSL at home, I get free WiFi access at every Starbucks in the U.S.? Jackpot!

AT&T's DSL rates are roughly the same as Verizon's so it's like getting a $30-40 per month hot spot subscription for free!

But wait, there's more.

Qualifying AT&T DSL subscribers and all AT&T fiber customers also get free WiFi access at McDonald's 8,500 restaurants, every Barnes & Noble, and several airports. AT&T's residential DSL rates are competitive with Verizon's:

Standard plan:

  • US$19.95/mo. for the first year (US$39.95 a month after that)
  • 1.5Mbps max. download speed
  • 128kbps max. upload

Preferred plan:

  • $29.95/mo. for the first year (US$49.95 a month after that)
  • 3.0Mbps max. download speed
  • 384kbps max. upload

In addition to the DSL rates above AT&T charges a US$19.99 shipping and handling fee. As a bonus, AT&T DSL service includes 20 hours of dial-up access for away-from-home use.

For US$10 more per month you can upgrade to AT&T's Premier Tier which adds another 1,000 U.S. locations at hotels, airports (run by other providers), convention centers and 53,000 international roaming locations.

Now for the big bummer.

When I checked for availability on the AT&T DSL Web site I was distraught to discover that AT&T DSL isn't available in my area. But neither is Verizon's FIOS service, so it looks like I'm stuck with Verizon DSL or Comcast cable for now...

What about you?

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[poll id=100]

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