London's iconic black taxis are something of a symbol of the country's buttoned-up image rooted in British history, but a new addition promises to make the low-key vehicles rolling hubs of innovation. The U.K. government has just given approval to a local company to equip the taxis with high-speed Wi-Fi, essentially giving the city mobile Internet cafes.
Developed by Eyetease, the CabWifi system offers riders free Wi-Fi service after a 15-second advertisement is played. The connection lasts 15 minutes (the average time of a taxi ride in central London), after which another ad is played to renew the Wi-Fi connection. Eyetease came up with the idea as a solution to defeat the connection problems inherent in congested cities dominated by high-rise buildings.
Commenting on the launch of the new system, Eyetease CEO, Richard Corbett, said, "Tourists and business travelers can now access their emails, talk on Skype, or surf the Web without the fear of being hit with high data roaming charges when they return home." The system is scheduled for roll out onto the streets of London in early 2013.