McDonald's previously announced plan to stop charging for Wi-Fi access in its restaurants goes into effect today: The quick-service chain formerly charged $2.95 for two hours of service, although AT&T customers got access at no cost, and there were other promotions. Now, it's all free at the 11,500 out of 14,000 US locations with Wi-Fi. Add to that the "sort of free" option at Starbucks--a deal that changed for the worse in late December--and you've got nearly 20,000 where you shouldn't have to pay for Internet access.
That tips the balance in the US well in favor of free or free--or at least free plus "inclusively free," where an existing subscription brings with it Wi-Fi hotspot service.
Over at TidBITS, a Mac journal where I'm an editor, I wrote up Find Free and Inexpensive Wi-Fi a few weeks ago to summarize how you can either avoid paying anything, or at least anything much for service.
Myself, I maintain a Boingo Wireless subscription because that's a small price to pay for not having to consider whether or not I can get service without paying an additional fee. McDonald's are oddly scarce in Seattle, with several having been shut down in recent years.