Broadcast news-gathering service LiveLinx now available in Europe and North Africa

2 Aug 2012

Liam O'Kelly, CEO AirSpeed Telecom (left) with Ray Purser, director of Operations-News and Current Affairs, for RTÉ. AirSpeed Telecom delivered live video footage to RTÉ for Election 2011 in Ireland

Wireless communications provider AirSpeed Telecom and the Irish independent satellite communications service Digital Space have announced they are expanding the live broadcasting service LiveLinx across Europe and North Africa as a result of new Ka band satellite capability.

Digital Space and Airspeed said the new Ka band satellite capability will now be available in Europe and North Africa, with the aim of offering both financial and time savings to broadcasters looking to reduce satellite uplink fees and operational costs.

It was back in 2010 that AirSpeed Telecom and Digital Space teamed up to launch LiveLinx.

In Ireland, state broadcaster RTÉ regularly uses LiveLinx, as does the broadcaster TV3, for news and sports coverage. Irish stockbroker firms NCB Stockbrokers, Davy and Merrion Stockbrokers also use the service to link them live to RTÉ’s financial newsdesk.

Game-changer in satellite news gathering?

Airspeed and Digital Space said the LiveLinx service will provide broadcasters with a fully fitted mobile vehicle equipped with a LiveLinx MPEG4 uplink for broadcasting live feeds from events across Europe. As part of the offer, LiveLinx will initially provide a vehicle-based solution for self-operated lease.

AirSpeed said connectivity with the broadcaster will be achieved via a dedicated IP connection that will be provided by the AirSpeed Telecom PoP.

According to AirSpeed Telecom’s managing director Liam O’Kelly, the availability of Avanti’s Ka band satellite platform for broadcasters signals a “game changer” in satellite news gathering.

“Now, for the first time, we have small terminals capable of delivering excellent broadcast quality signals at a much lower cost than was possible with Ka band.”

Kelly said that because this solution is IP-based, this will allow for a greater range of services to be easily delivered over the link.

“By adding auto acquire antennas, we have developed a turnkey solution that can be operated by any member of a crew without the need to have a satellite uplink engineer in attendance,” he said.

And, as well as broadcasting, AirSpeed said the IP-based service can also be expanded to include web, VPN access and telephony from remote locations.

The LiveLinx service was used to carry out facilitated live reporting on the visits by US President Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth II to Ireland back in 2011. As well as this, the 2011 Irish Presidential election and recent referenda were also transmitted over the LiveLinx service from venues such as Dublin Castle and Citywest Hotel in Dublin and City Hall in Cork.

As for AirSpeed, the wireless telecoms provider developed a direct link with the London Internet Exchange earlier this year. At the time, AirSpeed said the move would allow it to link directly with content-delivery networks like Akami, Limelight, Amazon, Google and the BBC.

And, in February, Airspeed announced it was investing €1.75m in a new Dublin fibre ring for its national network. The aim, said the company at the time, would be to allow Dublin companies to connect to the fibre ring at multi-gigabit speeds.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic