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Coming To London's Black Cabs: Free Wi-Fi

What's the Latest Development? 

Eyetease, a startup based in London's Tech City neighborhood, has received approval from the city government to begin installing its CabWifi 3G/4G hotspot in black cabs starting next year. It follows the "ads for access" model: For every 15 minutes of free high-speed wi-fi, riders only have to watch a 15-second ad. The company says it's still negotiating with several major brands to determine what those ads will be. Also, to get drivers to use the service, it offers them a way to offset data fees that they may accrue while using their mobile devices.

What's the Big Idea?

The Eyetease team figured that 15 minutes was the average "dwell time" in a London cab, and given the proliferation of smartphones and other mobile devices, that amount was plenty of time for tourists and business travelers to access free Internet while avoiding expensive roaming fees. The company also hopes to win a bid to allow them to install iTaxitop, which is described on their site as "high impact mobile digital advertising" that can be integrated with CabWifi.

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