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London taxis to offer free ad-supported Wi-Fi from next year

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UK startup Eyetease plans to bring free Wi-Fi to the back of London's black cabs. Dubbed CabWiFi, the service will offer fifteen minutes of free "high-speed" access in exchange for watching a fifteen-second ad. The company hasn't revealed what network its service will be powered by, but says it will "uniquely" switch between 3G and 4G connectivity to ensure uninterrupted data. It also says it'll offer taxi drivers access to the internet through a separate login account, but doesn't reveal if it will be on a free / unlimited basis, only saying that they'll "benefit from the service."

The company recently received approval for the scheme from the UK Government, but it appears as though it's still looking for sponsors and advertisers to help it launch. It says it's in "progressed conversations" with "several major consumer bands" including a credit card company and a mobile phone manufacturer, but it's not certain that the deals will go through. According to Eyetease, however, the CabWifi service will definitely be rolling out to black cabs across London from early 2013.