RealTime IT News

Starbucks Says Wireless Rollout to Start With 3 Cities

Seattle-based Starbucks Coffee Co. said it intends to roll-out wireless services initially to customers in Dallas, San Francisco and Seattle by late spring, denying allegations that it had been forced to delay its rollout plans to bring in-store broadband Internet access services via wireless devices.

The well-known coffee chain was adamant that the wireless project had "never been put on hold."

Citing a person close to the situation, InternetNews.com on Thursday incorrectly reported that Toronto-based Cyberplex, which had agreed to "help define and design its new high-speed, wireless network and content delivery system" for Starbucks had put things on hold due to "internal problems" within its firm. Cyberplex officials explained the delay referred to the company's planned media tour.

Officials for Starbucks and Cyberplex couldn't be reached Thursday. Since then, both Starbucks and Cyberplex have denied that the brakes were put on the deal.

Starbucks on Friday told InternetNews.com that Cyberplex was finishing "one piece of the product" and that it would be wrapped up by next week. Cyberplex confirmed the company was finishing "a small piece of the product" for Starbucks.

"There was a delay because the project wasn't completed yet," the Cyberplex spokesperson said. "The project was part of a defined phase, a preliminary stage [for Starbucks]," she added.

The wireless service is expected to allow Starbuck's North American customers to connect to a broadband service via wireless devices in individual shops. Each user will be able to access e-mail, the Web, online shopping and broadband content offerings developed by Microsoft MSN and Starbucks.

In January, InternetNews.com reported that Redmond, Wash.- based Microsoft and Richardson, Texas-based MobileStar were working with Starbucks to deploy wireless infrastructure services.