Telstra unveils new broadcast operations centre

Telstra touts broadcast services offerings

Telstra has taken the wraps of a new broadcast operations centre built in its former Sydney CBD exchange building at 76 Pitt Street. The centre manages the delivery of video broadcast content for both domestic and international broadcasters and is the hub of Telstra’s Global Media Network.

The facility operates 24x7 and routes some 400 services carrying some three million hours of content and handles about 20,000 ad hoc events annually.

It has been built over the last 12 months following Telstra’s acquisition in mid 2015 of GlobeCast Australia Pty Ltd, the Australian subsidiary of GlobeCast, from parent company Orange. GlobeCast Australia has now been renamed Telstra Broadcast Services Pty Ltd and is part of Telstra Global Enterprise Services (GES).

The business is one of a number of industry plays within Telstra GES all of which are run by David Keenan, head of global industries in Telstra GES.

“We have done a lot of work in last 18 months looking at which areas in industry we can create growth, where we can add differentiation and take our domestic capabilities into international markets, specifically Asia, but also elsewhere,” Keenan said. “We think broadcasting is one of those.”

He added that the recently announced launch of represented another such industry play.

Trevor Boal, Telstra’s head of broadcast services, said customers and potential customers of the new unit were content holders, content producers, broadcasters and operators domestically and globally.

“Most of the broadcasters and content holders in Australia are our customers,” he said. “We have a vast and expanding network connecting studios, production facilities and increasingly, venues taking sporting content back to facilities for broadcast. We also have a fleet of satellite newsgathering trucks that we can dispatch to any part of the country.”

Global aspirations

Boal added: “Global aspirations are key to our future growth and we already have a quite substantial role in delivering content in and out of Australia. We will continue to invest in our global ambitions around delivering content in and out of Asia Europe the UK and North America. We have teleports in Oxford Falls, Sydney, Gnangara in Western Australia and Stanley in Hong Kong. “

He said the centre was connected to another Telstra facility in the Sydney Metro area that manages head end facilities for over the top content. “That will be an increasingly important part of our growth plans,” Boal said. It also connects to control rooms in London, Los Angeles and New York operated by Pacific Television.

The Pitt Street building also houses a new Tier 4 data centre created specifically to serve Telstra Broadcast Services customers. Boal said it would offer collocation and hosting of media services to TBS customers and an offsite content storage and disaster recover facilities. “We think there is a substantial opportunity to work with our customers on these,” he said.

Catering for convergence

He described the new facility as “a fine example of large-scale convergence between traditional broadcast baseband video operations and new ICT delivery models such as cloud and IP protocols,” and added: “We can offer an end to-end IP media workflow and more traditional video baseband technologies. Adaptability across those technologies is critical for our customers.”

Paul Sutter, GM engineering and service management, in Telstra Broadcast Services, said the facility was one off the most advanced IP facilities for broadcasting in the world.

“The broadcast industry is not entirely in the IP space yet so we have a hybrid system where we can come in and out of this facility in baseband or IP,” Sutter said. “We have given ourselves the ability to migrate with the broadcasters.”

He added: “This control centre is quite deliberately abstracted from equipment so we can pick up control from anywhere in the world as required.”

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