McDonalds has announced that all of its 720 restaurants in Australia will soon offer free WiFi internet access.
McDonald’s has long offered WiFi in Australia, but only on a paid basis, through casual payment, or billed directly to Telstra accounts. McDonalds starting offering free WiFi in its United States stores in 2003.
The implementation would seem to be more complicated then simply flicking a switch on the existing WiFi hotspots, with a staged rollout utilizing Telstra’s Next IP network expected to be completed by March 2009.
720 stores may not seem huge in a global context, but it’s a huge number in Australia where free WiFi has never really taken off like it has in other places. Combined with the recent McDonald’s makeover in Australia that included the introduction of “McCafe” outlets in standalone stores, including the ability to purchase cafe style food (their Focaccia and ham and cheese croissants are pretty good) and proper tea and coffee, I can see myself visiting McDonald’s more regularly in the future, because you can’t beat highspeed free Wifi, even with a 3G modem.
(via Trevor Cook)