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RTÉ leans on satellite broadband to cover Irish general election

Irish TV network RTÉ turned to satellite ISP Europasat to support its coverage of the country’s general election

Ireland’s main national public service broadcaster, RTÉ, used a mobile satellite broadband network to provide up-to-the-minute, comprehensive coverage of the recent Irish general election.

Last year, the broadcaster signed a two-year deal with satellite internet service provider (ISP) Europasat to use its satellite newsgathering service, which is based on a KA-SAT satellite.

Europasat’s engineers set up a number of antennae to enable RTÉ to transmit live coverage and interviews from counting stations and political headquarters in parts of Ireland that had no reliable access to fixed broadband services.

The service covered a number of constituencies in the Cork area, as well as parts of Clare, Galway, Kerry, Laois, Longford, Meath, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo and Waterford.

Europasat also managed the necessary bandwidth – guaranteed at up to 10Mbps to support live video and audio transmission in both standard and high definition – while its specialist partner, Auriga Kore, controlled the terrestrial routing of the IP signal to RTÉ’s Dublin studios via the London Telehouse North datacentre.

“The Europasat service allowed our teams to cover more counting stations than ever before, in areas where it would have traditionally been more difficult and costly to report from,” said RTÉ news and current affairs technology manager Piotr Kaszynski.

“During the marathon 17-hour TV Election 2016 results coverage, we had simultaneous live streams available from 15 different IP KA-band Europasat locations working alongside 17 KU-band satellite newsgathering trucks.”

Europasat’s flexible and mobile service is completely IP-based and therefore adapted for rapid sending of store-and-forward files and file transfer protocol (FTP). It can also be used in combination with IP codecs for video and audio.

At its heart sits a drive-away terminal with dish sizes ranging from 75cm to 120cm, which can be mounted on the roof of a car. This comes in autopointing or flyaway versions, which are designed for use in harsh outdoor environments.

The firm has about 25,000 customers in Europe, both on the business and consumer side, and its broadcast customers including the BBC and CNN, as well as RTÉ.

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