Google bolstering Starbucks' Wi-Fi speeds by up to 18x over AT&T, says SpeedSpot

People accessing the Wi-Fi service supplied by Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) in certain Starbucks stores have been raving for months on social media about improved connectivity, and now SpeedSpot has confirmed that its users experienced up to 18 times faster download speeds at Starbucks locations that have swapped out their AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T) Wi-Fi service for Google's.

SpeedSpot Starbucks

SpeedSpot tested speeds in more than 650 Starbucks locations.

In addition, Wi-Fi users are also seeing a six times increase in upload speeds on the Google-supplied networks, based on speed tests conducted using the SpeedSpot application. The results were obtained though analysis of some 1,000 speed tests shared by SpeedSpot users over recent months from 650-plus U.S. Starbucks locations.

According to a spreadsheet supplied to FierceWirelessTech by SpeedSpot, the speed tests were conducted over Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) devices, including iPads, iPhone and iPods. SpeedSpot is building a free, crowd-sourced database of Wi-Fi hotspots that are rated by its Internet speed test. The company recently launched a Google Android app to complement the one it offers for Apple iOS devices.

According to a blog entry on its website, SpeedSpot data revealed that Google's Wi-Fi service in Starbucks provides average download speeds of 24.9 Mbps and upload speeds of 8.7 Mbps. AT&T Wi-Fi networks in Starbucks stores provide average downloads speeds of 1.3 Mbps and upload speeds of 1.2 Mbps.

The Starbucks at Orchards Market Center in Vancouver, Wash., delivered the fastest download speed at 72.8 Mbps. The highest upload speed was achieved at a Starbucks on Madison Ave., in Murrieta, Calif., where an upload speed of 39.1 Mbps was reported. SpeedSpot said measurement errors on the reported values are less than 10 percent.

One year ago, Starbucks announced its deal with Google to offer free Wi-Fi service in all of its U.S. stores. The companies promised the service would be up to 10 times faster than the service offered by AT&T Mobility, which had been powering Starbucks' Wi-Fi for more than five years.

Improved backhaul, beyond the 1.5 Mbps T1 lines used by AT&T to support the Starbucks Wi-Fi service, is one key to the impressive data speeds being seen in the retrofitted stores. Level 3 Communications is using a variety of broadband connectivity technologies to bring more bandwidth to the Google-enabled Starbucks locations. Further, Google has said the Starbucks Wi-Fi service it is supplying should be up to 100 times faster than AT&T's Starbucks service in cities where Google Fiber is deployed.

At the time of the announcement last summer, Google said it would offer free Wi-Fi to all 7,000 company-operated Starbucks stores in the United States within 18 months, meaning the rollout should be completed in early 2016.

For more:
- see this SpeedSpot blog entry

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