Coffee shops in Belmont have bucked the trend of restricting or banning Wi-Fi access to customers.
Even as the number of coffee shops reducing Wi-Fi access or removing it altogether continues to grow nationally, Belmont residents have more access to Wi-Fi at coffee shops than ever before.
On July 1, the two Starbucks Coffee locations in Belmont began offering customers free unlimited Wi-Fi. But they are not the only choices for Wi-Fi in local coffee shops.
Since its opening in August, Jimmy's Cafe on Alameda de las Pulgas has also offered customers free unlimited Wi-Fi. Jimmy's Cafe co-owner, Hakan Akgul, said he believes Wi-Fi is an essential part of the coffee shop experience these days.
Because of this belief, Akgul said Jimmy's Cafe opened with the idea that it would be a place where Wi-Fi users felt as welcome as those who come to the cafe just to hang out with friends and family. "Wi-Fi is essential. As a small business owner, I know how important it is to have a place to work," he said.
While some customers go to Belmont coffee shops to use Wi-Fi, others do not. For Janet Lamb, the free unlimited Wi-Fi offered at Jimmy's Cafe is not why she visits two to three times a week. Lamb said she goes to Jimmy's Cafe because she likes their food and beverages.
Even those who go to coffee shops to use their Wi-Fi do not feel the need to take advantage of the unlimited access. Max Matuzov, a regular at the Starbucks on El Camino Real, said he likes going to Starbucks to use their Wi-Fi, but only uses it for 30 to 40 minutes at a time.
Wi-Fi access itself, not the length of time offered, is also important to Michael Voznesensky. He visits the Peet's Coffee & Tea location on El Camino Real four to five times a week. Peet's offers customers one hour complimentary Wi-Fi with each purchase. When asked if he was happy with the amount of Wi-Fi time Peet's offers, he said, "An hour is reasonable. It works."