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London black cabs to get free Wi-Fi

A UK startup is bringing advertising-funded Wi-Fi to London's black cabs, it has been revealed.

Eyetease, a startup based in the government-backed TechCity technology hub, said the service will provide passengers with free Internet access in exchange for watching a 15 second advert every 15 minutes. The company also claims that the service, to be named CabWifi, will "uniquely" switch between 3G and 4G connectivity, although a network provider has yet to be revealed.

Eyetease hopes the CabWifi feature will be popular with tourists hoping to avoid data roaming charges. The Wi-FI network will also be available to taxi drivers free of charge and without advertising via a special login.

The news means that black cabs are latest mode of transport in London to offer Wi-Fi; there are currently 72 stations on the London Underground and Overground that offer the service via Virgin.

However, Virgin announced last month that it would be limiting free access to its wireless networks to Virgin, Vodafone and EE customers only, before the end of this year.

Although Eyetease has yet to sign any advertisers, the firm insisted that it is currently in talks with "several major consumer brands" including a mobile phone manufacturer and a credit card company. The startup confirmed that the CabWifi service will be launched across London from early 2013.

Image Credit: Flickr (jtbarrett)