Google is teaming up with Starbucks to make Wi-Fi at its coffee shops 10 times faster.
Over the next 18 months, Google(GOOG) will be upgrading all 7,000 company-operated Starbucks locations in the United States. Starbucks(SBUX) already offers free Wi-Fi access at its coffee shops, but the company said faster Internet speeds will give it a competitive advantage over its rivals.
"Our goal is to continue to provide our customers with the best in-store experience possible, and we are excited to offer these kinds of unparalleled experiences at a broad scale," said Adam Brotman, Starbucks' chief digital officer, in a prepared statement.
Since 2008, AT&T (T)has provided in-store Wi-Fi for Starbucks, but when that contract expired, Google beat out the telecom giant for the chance to build out the network of the future.
AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel noted that in AT&T's proposal to Starbucks, the telecom giant also offered up to 10 times faster network and Wi-Fi speeds.
"The decision must have been based on criteria other than speeds," he said.
Google has taken an interest in increasing speeds for Internet users across the country, as more robust connections translate into more searches and bigger advertising dollars.
The search giant has offered free Wi-Fi for the city of Mountain View, Calif., for several years, and it has installed super-fast fiber networks in Kansas City. More than a dozen other cities, including Austin, Texas, are on tap to receive "Google Fiber" soon.
For Starbucks located within Google Fiber cities, Internet speeds are expected to become 100 times faster than their current levels.