press release
Published: 16 September 2021

New project to bring 5G to stadia across the country

The days of unreliable mobile network coverage at arena events, such as Premier League football matches, could soon be a thing of the past thanks to a new DCMS* backed project. 

Live events present a real challenge for mobile network operators, with high demand for data being particularly problematic at crucial moments when fans want to stream or post content. Significant investment is needed to increase bandwidth at arenas to overcome this problem; however, the fact that these venues are not in permanent use makes this financially difficult.  

The University of Surrey's 5G/6G Innovation Centre and partners from the industry took part in a proof-of-concept event yesterday [Wednesday 15 September 2021] at the 02 Blueroom to demonstrate how 5G VISTA** technology could enhance the fan experience at venues across the country.  

With a live British Tour Cars race as a demonstration, the 5G VISTA team was able to show how fans could use the technology to get closer to the action by viewing the race from a high-quality feed that captured the race from multiple angles. 

Observers at the 02 Blueroom were also shown underneath the hood of VISTA, including how it used content from one user source and delivered to many others, rather than a one user, one transmission scenario as is typical in today's market. 

The 5G/6G Innovation Centre is responsible for the multicast/broadcast security within the 5G VISTA project. The work includes designing and validating end-to-end security for group communications using Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS) and a lightweight multicast key management system.  

Regius Professor Rahim Tafazolli, Director of the 5G/ 6G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey, said: 

"Sport and entertainment are critical elements of our communities - you only have to look at the incredible summer of sport we have experienced here in the UK. With fans going back to venues, it's important that they are not met with the same digital offering that has soured many experiences, and we believe 5G VISTA is a strong step in the right direction."  

Note to editors 

*Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport 

**Video in Stadia Technical Architecture (VISTA) will aim to take full advantage of 5G New Radio, enhanced Mobile Broadband, and 5G broadcast services, trialled with LTE feMBMS, to showcase new and exciting in-stadia digital experiences. This collaboration brings together complementary skills, knowledge and experience from across the whole mobile media delivery ecosystem, from devices to networks to broadcast to content and venues.  

 
The following companies have joined together to test and demonstrate the technical feasibility and the business potential of the FeMBMS features in 5G:

  • ATEME provides a containerized software encoding system, encoding and packaging the camera feeds into the correct formats for broadcast distribution by the feMBMS system. 

  • Digital Catapult provides provision of the 5G testbed network, validation of the business cases and assessment of further applications and market verticals. 

  • DTG provides project management, coordination and collaboration with the creative industries. 

  • GWS provides consumer behaviour analysis and market research. 

  • Imaginary Pictures provides production and live camera expertise for technical demonstrations. 

  • Ori Industries provides an Edge Compute (MEC) platform that enables workloads to be deployed at the edge of the network, supporting a multitude of use cases such as encoding solutions for live sports streaming services deployed on 5G networks. 

  • Rohde & Schwarz provides the equipment, systems and expertise for a multicast/broadcast overlay network based on FeMBMS. 

  • Virgin Media O2 combines the UK’s favourite mobile network operator with a broadband network offering the nation’s fastest widely available speeds. It is providing 4G & 5G network solutions for the project, as well as the final showcase venue, and has strong associations with live sport and music. 

  • The University of Surrey's 5GIC explores multicast/broadcast security within the 5G-VISTA project. The work includes the design and validation of end-to-end security for group communication. 

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