2022 was a ground-breaking year for BT Media and Broadcast, characterised by many firsts. Namely, using the power of 5G technology to deliver truly engaging broadcast experiences, placing sports fans at the very heart of the action.
In May, BT Media and Broadcast smoothly executed its first 5G trial at the StoneX Stadium. Alongside BT Sport, it worked to build a 5G private network enabling wireless, untethered cameras to integrate into a single platform for end-to-end live broadcast.
The 5G private network allowed operators to move freely on the pitch – a captivating new development that opened up a wide range of filming angles and encouraged creativity, efficiency and sustainable ways to broadcast live sport.
In tandem, a cloud production demonstration, where aggregated camera feeds were sent to an on-site production truck and backhauled to the cloud via BT’s Vena platform, highlighted the innovative workflows enabled by this approach.
The trial demonstrated how an uncontended private 5G network, armed with a high bandwidth and low latency, can help broadcasters deliver live events in high quality.
Levelling up with the BBC
Fueled by this success, in August, the second 5G private network trial facilitated the BBC’s coverage of the Commonwealth Games. This was the first time the technology has been deployed at this scale across Europe.
BT deploys 5G cells on trailers to infill the EE network during natural disasters and events, and one of these cells was deployed in Victoria Square, Birmingham for this event. But in a change from the normal deployment, it was configured as a private 5G network. This meant the broadcast signals worked even when thousands of consumers were in the vicinity using their mobiles.
The camera signals went over 5G to the cell, via the BT network, the internet and the BBC network to the One Show gallery in BBC Broadcasting House in London and then out to millions of viewers. The BBC benefitted from significant bi-directional bandwidth, reliably delivering live feeds to BBC’s production facilities.
Powering the future of broadcasting
These trials prove 5G is a game-changer for modern broadcasting technology, providing an unrivalled experience for viewers. But what happens when you connect a 5G private network to a Low-Earth Orbit satellite system?
Most recently, BT Media and Broadcast participated in the IBC Accelerator, 5G Production in the Middle of Nowhere. It demonstrated that a highly portable ‘network in a box’, pairing 5G non-public networks with Low-Earth Orbit satellite systems, can broadcast from anywhere.
Low-Earth Orbit satellite terminals unlock the potential for connecting broadcast systems anywhere on Earth back to production galleries or the cloud. A 5G system can be linked to a low-Earth Orbit satellite and dropped in the most remote locations, from a safari reserve in Kenya, to the Highland Games in Scotland.
With developments such as these, it’s just the beginning of an incredibly exciting journey. We are working to offer the very best technology to accommodate broadcast needs and work towards an all-IP, all-OTT future.