Delivering the Olympic Games

Much has changed since Intelsat first delivered the 1968 Summer Games from Mexico City to audiences around the globe, says Jean-Philippe Gillet, the satellite operator’s regional vice-president of sales for Europe and the Middle East. The size of the audience, the number of satellites involved and the amount of content has grown dramatically.

For Seoul in 1988, Intelsat used nine satellites to provide coverage to a worldwide audience of three billion people. In Sydney in 2000, Intelsat reached four billion people, as broadcasters used more than 40,000 hours of coverage provided via 10 Intelsat satellites. In Beijing in 2008, Intelsat used capacity on 25 international satellites and 12 US satellites to provide more than 25,000 hours of coverage for rights and non-rights holders to an audience measured at 4.7 billion globally.

Intelsat will continue this tradition with its coverage of the Summer Games in London, responding to customer requirements in Asia, Europe and the Americas with support services on 11 Intelsat satellites in C- and Ku-band. Although London is one of the best-connected cities in the world, demand for global distribution results in Intelsat utilising approximately 500 MHz of bandwidth on satellite for full time and occasional use services. This will support approximately 50 channels with 15,000 to 20,000 hours of coverage over approximately three weeks.

These signals include distribution of the Multi Destination Service (MDS) feed, which is being carried exclusively on IS- 805 into the Americas, dedicated broadcaster content delivery solutions and production services for live-shots with the Houses of Parliament backdrop, and play-outs on an occasional use basis.

The IntelsatONE terrestrial network will be front and center as a prime component in Intelsat’s Summer Games media solutions. Because London is a hub for fiber networking, it is often easier to take services out of London via fiber for subsequent transmission over satellite, and the IntelsatONE IP/MPLS network is ideal for supporting such requirements.

Services originating from the International Broadcasting Center can be easily connected to the IntelsatONE Fiber PoP at Telehouse West in London, and Ku-Band feeds being directly uplinked from around London can be received at Intelsat’s Fuchsstadt teleport or one of five US teleports for delivery to international destinations.

In addition to servicing the rights-holders at the International Broadcasting Center, Intelsat also has a facility in Lambeth offering a spectacular view of London’s Houses of Parliament. Broadcasters from around the world are using this iconic backdrop for their regular reports to viewers back home, with Intelsat and partner Globecast providing camera and audio, encoding, multiplexing, uplink, space segment and IntelsatONE connectivity. On-site booking also is available.

Additionally, Intelsat, Eutelsat and SES will be trialing Digital Carrier Identification (DCID) technology at the London Games. Carrier ID is a stamp on uplink signals that will enable satellite operators to more efficiently identify transmissions to their satellites and thereby accelerate coordination with earth station operators in the event of signal interference.

Two versions of Carrier ID will be used. The Network Identification Table (NIT) places the ID in an unused section of the DVB standard NIT.  The second Carrier ID being studied is the DVB standard for Carrier ID (DVB-CID) and works within the modulator instead of the encoder.

The London Games continues Intelsat’s long history of supporting the Olympic broadcasts, and we are already looking forward to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, and anticipate strong interest in satellite solutions for these events.

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