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Trade ads for free Internet in your London taxi

A new initiative aimed for early next year will give London cab riders free Internet time in exchange for watching advertisements.

Black London cabs
Prasad Kholkute

A new initiative in London will give passengers free Internet minutes in exchange for watching adverts en route to their destination.

Startup Eyetease has gotten approval from the Transport for London to roll out a new scheme for the city's iconic black cabs that will allow drivers and passengers to connect to the Internet for free in exchange for viewing ads.

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 that 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 hot spot. The firm says that while the transport's in motion, losing connections is not an issue, as the system "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 rollout 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 successful rollout.

This story originally appeared on SmartPlanet.