I was in Australia when I walked into a McDonald's for the first time in years. I was desperate. I needed what it can give me. No, not a Big Mac or even a McNugget. I wanted the Wi-Fi. With free Wi-Fi access and locations at just about every other block in the land down under, McDonald's made my non-roaming phone become a phone again. Skype, e-mail, the world was, once more, accessible at my bidding, and all I had to do was buy a soda if I didn't want to feel like a moocher.
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You can say what you want about what McDonald's represents in the argument against globalization and fast-food obesity, but you can't deny that the free Wi-Fi is friggin' convenient and brilliant.
Apparently, I'm not the only one to think so. According to new figures released by the company, in the UK, 750,000 customers have logged on to the McDonald's free Wi-Fi since they introduced the service in 2007. They're now downloading a staggering 500 gigabytes of data a day. That's a tenfold increase from when it was first offered and double what it was over a year ago. What this means for the company is customers who buy coffee, customers who spend money.
"Demand for Wi-Fi in our restaurants is growing at an incredible pace, to the extent it is now one of our most popular side-orders," a company spokesman quipped, obviously tickled that his company's influence on society just got stronger.