Over the last few months I've been watching as the WiFi speeds in the local Starbucks keep going from slow to slower. Today with one other person connected, the speeds were as slow as I have seen in my area in a very, very long time.
As someone who has been using the Starbucks Hotspots since they were first introduced I've now watched as they and many others in the hospitality business including hotels and restaurants have failed to keep up with the advancing levels of service delivery. 780k may have once been good but a 438ms ping time to a server less than 20 miles away, regardless of what the speed test shows points to the problem. AT&T, which provides the broadband to Startbucks network thinks I'm in San Jose. I'm not, I'm in Carmel Valley, San Diego about 380 miles south. So testing as I'm somewhere I'm not I get a slightly better result with a massively better ping time. But, in the era where WiFi offload is the carriers if I'm in a San Diego area Starbucks and I want to hit my local mail server, why should my data have to travel up and then down the coast. That's just silly network management. But the real issue is the size of the pipe. In the T-Mobile era you usually saw bandwidth up to 5 megs in these same locations. Now you're lucky if you have a DSL line in the Starbucks locations so no wonder they give it away now.
I guess the old axiom is true. You do get what you pay for.