From the moment the London 2012 Olympic flame arrived in the UK the BBC has provided coverage of the passage of the Olympic Torch as relays of 8,000 Torchbearers carry the symbol of peace, unity and friendship throughout the country.
In the spirit of the relay – to bring the excitement of the Games to everyone – the torch’s journey is being made available to all via a video stream and daily highlights on the London 2012 website and coverage on BBC news. To meet this unique news gathering challenge the broadcaster has opted to use 3G mobile networks to provide a feed from the Torch Relay for editing and broadcast.
For a 3G data connection to be viable for outside broadcast it must meet specialist requirements for high capacity, security and reliability. The broadcaster is deploying mobile SIM cards from all five 3G network including Stream Communications, a Machine to Machine (M2M) focused mobile operator. Stream’s contribution to the bandwidth is provided by a pair of Stream SIM cards.
The two Stream SIM cards, each with a 25GB limit, are bonded along with SIMs from other mobile operators and are optimised for maximum video quality. The accessible bandwidth could be as high as 30Mbps delivering broadcast quality images. The broadcaster is using the Stream SIMs, located in the specially modified camera vehicle, along with the four other network specific SIMs. Stream Communications has been able to provide high data limits without having to swap out lots of different SIMs in order to stay within agreed bundle sizes.
Nigel Chadwick, Founding Director of Stream Communications, said: “Standard 3G solutions have their limitations, especially when near large crowds with mobile phones, such as those lining the route of the Torch Relay this summer. The ability to bond 3G for greater bandwidth, together with our own enhanced network provision, supplies a flexible transport network for digital content from this historic event.”
The two bonded Stream SIMs provide broadcast quality video feeds from within an hour of 95 per cent of people in the UK, Guernsey and Jersey. To achieve higher quality video simply requires the bonding of additional SIM cards. Stream Communications estimates just six bonded Stream SIM cards are more than capable of supporting a live 1080HD video stream delivering a satellite-equivalent broadcast experience.
“Outside broadcast depends on the resilience and quality of connection back to the studio. Streams’ enhanced 3G network and fair, cost effective tariffs offers a true alternative to satellite. Stream’s 3G network is proven to be secure, stable and reliable and perfectly suited to the challenges of outside broadcast. The Olympic Torch Relay reflects the start of a new and exciting era in outside broadcast opportunities,” said Chadwick.