London's famous black cabs are to provide free wi-fi to passengers, thanks to technology provided by a TechCity startup. Passengers using the CabWifi service will gain access to fifteen minutes of free wi-fi after watching a 15 second advert.
Startup firm Eyetease has been pushing the system for two years, aiming to offer internet usage without racking up huge fees. This is particularly true for tourists that have to pay increased costs for data usage abroad, but according to Eyetease founder Richard Corbett taxi drivers themselves have also seen data costs rising.
"With dwell times averaging 15 minutes in the back of a taxi, what better way to pass the time than to use your laptop, tablet, book reader or phone with guilt free internet access," Corbett said. "Tourists and business travellers can now access their emails, talk on Skype or surf the web without the fear of being hit with high data roaming charges when they return home."
Eyetease is currently speaking to major brands to sponsor the scheme, in return for videos in the back of taxis across the capital when the service rolls out next year.
Wi-fi is becoming increasingly ubiquitous across London, with Virgin getting the contract to provide internet access at tube stations in time for the Olympics.