LONDON'S BLACK CABS will be able to offer free WiFi access to passengers next year, after Transport for London approved a proposal by Tech City startup Eyetease to provide connectivity in the distinctive taxis.
The system called Cabwifi will give passengers 15 minutes of free WiFi access during a journey after they've watched a 15 second advert. It works by latching onto 3G and 4G signals and turning the taxicab into a WiFi hotspot.
Drivers will also be able to access the system with their own login so they can avoid using data connections for their phones when travelling around, the firm said.
Eyetease is working with several companies about possible sponsorship opportunities with the aim of having the service live by early 2013.
"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 free internet access," said Eyetease CEO Richard Corbett.
"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."
The planned launch adds to the growing availability of WiFi services in the capital after the launch of WiFi services on the London Underground by Virgin Media.
Eyetease has offices in Tech City at the Google Campus building in Silicon Roundabout.
Last week the government announced a further cash injection of £50m to the area in a move to boost its capabilities and office spaces to help its growth continue. µ