Live from The Open: CenturyLink connects Carnoustie to broadcasters around the world

Fibre and video-over-IP now form the signal transmission backbone for most major sporting events, and the CenturyLink Vyvx team is again on hand at The Open as a pivotal connectivity provider.

“CenturyLInk operates a global fibre network,” Senior Solutions Architect Jeff Hallman told SVG Europe in the TV compound at Carnoustie. “And because of our relationships and connectivity with the broadcasters in Europe and in North America, we’re looked on to provide that end-to-end connectivity from events like this.

“Because we’re a telco with broadcast services as a specialty, we help manage local carriers for the different events. We know who it is that owns the fibre in the ground and we have a telco relationship with them. We marry that with our understanding of an OB of this complexity,” said Hallman.

CenturyLink Senior Solutions Architect Jeff Hallman at the 147th Open in Carnoustie: “Plug and play is what they want”

“Vyvx is the professional media entity within CenturyLink,” he explained. “We deal strictly in professional broadcast or media transport, whether event-based or fulltime distribution. The latter is an always-on 365 service for which the Vyvx team is responsible. A lot of the event-based work is in sports. We apply those same techniques to a golf course in the middle of nowhere.

“We do two things here: we provide transmission services and we also provide the management of the connection – the physical connection to the golf course, in this case. We have a key role to play leading up to the event, with all the conversations and planning that takes place before the circus shows up. A lot of the hard work has already been done: now we just have to execute,” he said.

“We provide that connectivity. On top of that we provide managed video services, ie traditional transmission in the broadcast sense of the word, but now it has become about network management for IP applications. The reason we’re here is because of our relationships with everyone participating – the R&A, European Tour Productions, CTV and the broadcast rights holders.

“Our broadcast expertise and our ability to manage the telcos put us at a critical juncture. And there are more things going on now than just your traditional linear programme output. There’s editing facilities, post production, and all the IT side that’s being supported because of the nature of the network,” he said.

“Remote production is not new! We’re bringing their office to the side of a golf course – because of the network. They have every functionality here: video engineering, Avid and media management, file transport support, and the classical ‘IT guy’ that does printers and email – all hanging off the network. We work with them to configure to the way they need it. Plug and play is what they want.

“If you do the planning and provisioning properly going in, there are less headaches on-site. And when the broadcasters get here and want to change things, or add things, we’re in a position to do that because we are ready.

“We have the relationships with everybody on-site, and because we already have the connectivity we’re not building the network end-to-end for every show. We’re just building, basically, from our PoP out to the venue,” said Hallman.

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