Grande Wi-Fi: Understanding What Wi-Fi Users Are Doing in Coffee-Shops

Neeti Gupta

Neeti Gupta

The relationship between coffee-shops and Internet has recently been highlighted by the launch of wireless “hotspots” which provides e-access through Wi-Fi technology, in coffee-shops and several other public places in America. This thesis explores the social implications of introduction of Wi-Fi in coffee-shops, drawing on ethnographic research, online surveys and interviews with Internet users in coffee-shops, Wi-Fi providers and coffee-shop owners and their staff. It reviews the user experience of the Wi-Fi users in these public spaces. This thesis looks closely at Wi-Fi users everyday activities in four typical research-settings. It is suggested that a closer understanding of the ways in which Wi-Fi users interact – online as well as face-to-face, sustaining their offline and online relationships – is fundamental to understanding the impact of wireless hotspots in America’s public spaces.

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