Read the Wall Street Journal at no cost in a Starbucks over Wi-Fi: Starbucks first started talking about some of these ideas in...2001. Yes, the advantage of a decade on the Wi-Fi and hotspot beat is that you remember the first time this stuff came around. At that time Microsoft was a content partner, and would deliver local results in a walled garden. Times have changed, but just a little.
The Starbucks Digital Network is live, and requires a visit to a Starbucks store with a Wi-Fi capable device. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't know of any other effort that isn't quite limited—such as the movies available for rental at the Denver airport over its free network. All other location-specific, network-only content tends to be dull, like a portal with local weather reports.
The SDN gives you The Wall Street Journal for free, which otherwise costs over $100/yr. The New York Times is in on the action, with its New York Times Reader 2.0 Web app, which delivers a more interactive reading experience, akin to an iOS app. Apple will offer free videos and music. The awkwardly named Bookish Reading Club will let you read excerpts and full books in the store, too. Nick Jr. Boost, an $80/yr subscription service, is free on the SDN. Zagat's on tap, too. Other proximity-based content will be featured as well that's available for free outside of the coffeeshop's confines.
It's a clever move for Starbucks to counter its McDonald's competition, where Mickey D wants to service you quickly and send you on your way. Starbucks has peak hours of 5 am to 9 am, as I understand it, when people are inclined to move in and out fast in any case. After 9 am, the day at most stores unfolds more slowly, and lingering is a good idea.