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In London, trade adverts for free Internet in your taxi

Posting in Technology

Credit: Prasad Kholkute

A new initiative in London will give you free Internet minutes in exchange for watching adverts while traveling to your next destination.

Startup firm Eyetease has received approval from the Transport for London to roll-out a new scheme for London's iconic black cabs, which will allow drivers and passengers to connect to the Internet for free in exchange for viewing advertisements.

Dubbed CabWiFi, the "ads for access" model makes passengers watch a 15 second advert in exchange for 15 minutes of Wi-Fi time. Drivers are given a separate login for the service, which the company touts as a way for cabbies to offset some of the roaming charges which are inflating drivers' monthly phone bills.

CabWiFi connects through 3G and 4G technology -- although it's worth keeping in mind that the U.K. is in the infant stages of harnessing the latter network -- and turns a black cab into a Wi-Fi hotspot. The firm says that while the transport in motion, loosing connections are not an issue, as it "intelligently overcomes issues such as connectivity on the move and connectivity in between buildings."

Eyetease is currently in talks with corporations to try and sponsor a roll-out of the network by early 2013. In addition, the startup is developing a project called the iTaxitop, which will turn taxis into digital advertising rooftops.

Better hope there will be enough black cabs for a roll-out to be a success.

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— By on December 9, 2012, 9:06 PM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure