McDonald's to become UK's largest free Wi-Fi provider

The Guardian is reporting that McDonald's is going to introduce free high speed wireless internet at most of its 1200 restaurants by the end of 2007.

This move will see the chain become the UK's biggest provider of free Wi-Fi, as although there are thousands of Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the UK, most, like Starbucks with their T-Mobile HotSpots, charge a fee for the service.

McDonald's has said the service is aimed not only at business people but also casual users "looking for a leisurely break at the weekend to download music".

A hotspot users who currently pays go online for an hour a week in a coffee shop could save as much as £260 a year.

McDonald's CEO, Steve Easterbrook, said: "We hope that this will be a breath of fresh air and give greater choice for Wi-Fi hotspot users who have had little choice but to pay by the month or hour to access the internet on the move".

The Guardian suggests that McDonald's customers will be able to go online in a restaurant for "hours on end if they wish".

When presented with the scenario of someone buying a single coffee and then spending hours using the free Wi-Fi, a spokesman for McDonald's said: "We would be comfortable with that. There will be no restrictions".

Now you know, folks - free Wi-Fi at MaccyD's - and you don't even have to eat the food.