The Examiner reports that Wi-Fi Rail may be in trouble about signing contract with BART, raising money: But Wi-Fi Rail says it ain't so. Cooper Lee, the company's head, just called to let me know that the focus of the article was a bit off. In an earlier version of this item on Wi-Fi Networking News, I wrote:
"Wi-Fi Rail spoke bluntly to the San Francisco Examiner five months after the board of the Bay Area Rapid Transit plan had approved contract negotiations for a full-blown installation. The negotiations aren't finished, and the tight credit market means it might take months after signing a deal for Wi-Fi Rail to raise the necessary funds."
Lee said, however, that they've already raised the money they need for the next 12 months, and that they believe they'll sign a contract soon. Lee said that the company needs to spend a total of $20m over 24 months, but that $9m are in equipment leases, which is simple financing.
He also said that much of the negotiation with BART was ensuring that the ramp-up for customers and revenue was fair relative to the fees paid to BART; BART doesn't want Wi-Fi Rail to be saddled with obligations they can't meet before customers appear, which makes sense for a transit authority looking many years into the future. They'd rather have a stable than a squeezed provider, obviously.
Lee said the company is moving forward with the expectation they'll be able to start work soon, hopefully before Christmas.