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Comux announces technical infrastructure partners for local TV

by david.nunes

Comux announces technical infrastructure partners for local TV

London, UK: 20 August 2013Comux UK, the community-owned business selected by Ofcom to build and operate the local TV broadcasting platform, today announced details of its technical infrastructure and the companies selected as infrastructure partners and suppliers.

Ed Hall, Chief Executive at Comux, said: “We are delighted to announce that we have now agreed contracts with all of our key infrastructure partners and suppliers.  This means we can now offer the complete technical framework we promised to Ofcom, and the 19 local licensees, due to start broadcasting in the coming months.”

The infrastructure includes;

· Arqiva – Transmission services

· IBC (Innovation Birmingham Campus) – Buildings and facilities

· Phoenix7 – licensee Channel Management Software (CMS) for scheduling

· Techex  – Lead technical architect for the broadcast layer, (compression and multiplexing, contribution, broadcast IP network, IP/ASI transport and transmitter monitoring)

· TSL – Lead System Integrator, using the Evertz Mediator system for storage and playout

· WarwickNet – Network

With the technical infrastructure in place, the first 19 licensees can focus on getting ready to start broadcasting. Lia Nici, Executive Producer, Channel 7 Grimsby, said: “We are very excited about our upcoming launch on Freeview, and the completion of the technical infrastructure framework is a big step towards this.

The extensive selection process carried out by Comux has been designed to provide the best combination of technical performance, support services and value for money. Przemek Bozek, industry analyst at IHS, said: “The technical infrastructure is critical to the success of the local TV service. Comux has put together a best-of-breed framework that should deliver everything the licensees need when they start broadcasting.”

D UK has allocated prominent channel numbers for local TV; position 8 on the Freeview TV guide in England and Northern Ireland, and nominally position 34 in Wales and Scotland.  Originally conceived by former culture secretary Jeremy Hunt, the local TV initiative aims to create a vibrant network of stations that can serve local communities, and improve local democracy.  Alongside broadcasting on digital terrestrial TV, some of the local channels are planning carriage on satellite and cable TV, and online.

Comux UK is owned in equal measure by the local TV licensees.

More about Arqiva

Arqiva is a leading communications infrastructure and media services company, and will provide its transmission services for local TV.

Under the agreement Arqiva will provide main transmission services including network access and managed transmissions. The network access agreement will enable Comux to use Arqiva masts, power supplies and new antennas on transmission sites. Arqiva will also manage the transmission of Comux’s high power playout signal, providing local TV stations with the final link they need to broadcast their programming.

More about Innovation Birmingham Campus (IBC)

Comux has leased three main areas from IBC to create a Central Apparatus Room (housing the main electronic equipment), a Master Control Room (providing facilities for the operating staff), and office space (for admin, marketing, compliance and other back-office function).

Modular Power has been contracted to provide and install services to these facilities that include A B dual-feed power supplies, air conditioning, dual uninterruptable power supplies (UPS) with back-up generator, and fire suppression equipment.

More about Phoenix7

Phoenix7 will provide licensees with the Channel Management Software (CMS). Phoenix7’s ‘Zeus’ CMS was chosen because the company’s excellent technical support and training, combined with a first-class product, delivers excellent value for money to the licensees, meeting all their scheduling needs in single a cost-effective solution.

The Zeus CMS is designed so that users can customise the software to suit their own, individual needs. No two channels are the same; not in terms of the content, operations or budgets and Phoenix7 were the first company to design a CMS solution the reflect this.

More about Techex

Techex’s core business is assisting its partners to benefit from the advantages brought about by IP transmission. Under the contract Techex will implement the contribution, encoding, EIT insertion and transmission adaptation technologies and the core IP network.

In addition, Techex will liaise with equipment vendors, third party service providers and regulatory authorities to launch the platform for Comux.

Techex has unrivalled experience in implementing IP based solutions for an impressive list of clients including BSkyB, BBC, Arqiva, Globecast, Disney and Discovery.

More about TSL

Comux has chosen TSL as the system integrator for the NOC. The core function of the playout will be provided by the Evertz Mediator System to provide an integrated content workflow and playout solution, combining content preparation, media management and playout – including high performance on screen graphics and secondary events.

The Mediator system will be located in the NOC and will be presented to the Licensees within a Standard Web Browser in their offices by connecting across the Comux IP network.

Mediator will accept the advanced and transmission schedules produced by the Phoenix 7 CMS and scheduling system, and use these to drive the media management and playout functionality.

More about WarwickNet

WarwickNet will provide a high-speed, high-bandwidth network between Comux and the licensees to support both data and voice communications. This MPLS data network infrastructure connects Comux with both the local studios and the TV transmitter sites.

Very large data files of TV content and live programme feeds from the local production companies will be sent via WarwickNet’s private network to the Comux facility at the Innovation Birmingham campus in Aston and from there the programming will be streamed directly to local TV transmitter sites.

WarwickNet is a British business that is a specialist provider of very high-speed internet connectivity. It has built a reputation as a high quality internet service provider (ISP) connecting business parks and science parks. As a national organisation it has an extensive London and European core network and delivers to customers across the UK.


About Comux

Comux UK was created by chief executive Ed Hall to meet the demand from potential local TV operators for an equitable, efficient and co-operative approach to providing a cost-effective distribution infrastructure for local TV in the UK.

In 2013 Comux was awarded the licence to build, operate and manage the UK’s local TV infrastructure by communications regulator Ofcom. The team behind Comux has previously worked with most of the UK’s local broadcasters providing physical and commercial services. The team has unique experience in assisting smaller channel operators to create realistic business plans.

The Comux UK approach has been developed to provide a commercially sustainable and robust solution to the unique challenges facing local TV operators, whilst providing an attractive return to stakeholders, the licence holders themselves, and the local TV industry as a whole. www.comux.co.uk

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