WiFi The Mickey Dee Way: Free.

Do you want internet access with your fries and McNuggets? How's a free wireless hour sound? Today McDonald's announced it would offer WiFi internet access in 300 restaurants in NYC, Chicago and a yet unannounced California municipality. It currently is in the midst of a 3-month pilot program in NYC.

You'll get an hour with your meal, for free. Additional time will be approximately $3.00 an hour. McDonald's is taking an approach not unlike that suggested to Starbucks by Doc Searls in his “Earth to Starbucks” plea last week. Question is for Doc and his legion of Atkins diet followers (and leaders), is there anything Atkins compliant on the McDonald's menu?

The article mentions that Toshiba and Intel will set up wireless ''hot spots'' in coffee shops, hotels and convenience stores across the United States. Additionally, Hilton, Mariott, Sheraton, Westin and W hotels will roll out wireless access points in hundreds of hotels in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany. And access will also be extended to passenger lounges at the airports in Dallas-Fort Worth and San Francisco.

Today this may be a huge differentiator and lure to get WiFi addicts and busy professionals to step through doors they may not normally go. And Bravo to Starbucks for getting into the access business. Yet as we come to expect cream sugar, (clean) bathrooms, heat in winter, air conditioning in summer and a glass of water by asking, we can expect to see a transition from fee-based WiFi to a unbiquitous “What do you mean you don't offer…” WiFi in the next 24 months. Just makes doing business that much easier on the road and faster, smarter and better blog posts in near real-time.