An industry first: NSSLGlobal enables BBC to transmit in BGAN HDR


The news gathering arm of the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) has been working with NSSLGlobal for over a decade. During that time, the two companies have worked on introducing a number of new satellite services to enable the transmission of breaking news stories from all over the world.

Beta phase

Following a successful Beta Test the BBC has engaged with NSSLGlobal to introduce the latest evolution of Inmarsat’s HDR Service, which currently only operates on the BGAN Explorer 710. This new satellite service provides a throughput of up to 650kbps, approximately double previous streaming rates.

The HDR Service is ideal for satellite newsgathering as it enables media companies to stream high quality live footage from anywhere around the world, at unprecedented speeds utilising such a portable device. It is designed to help organisations like the BBC to continually improve the picture quality of live, outside broadcasts.

The beta test phase was completed in November 2013 and the BBC agreed to place its first order as soon as the HDR Service became available.

Roll out

The HDR Service was launched on 3rd December 2013.Then on 5th December 2013, Nelson Mandela sadly died at his home in Johannesburg, South Africa. The world’s media descended upon the small suburb of Houghton to report the breaking news live.

The BBC wanted to use the HDR Service to deliver the best possible quality images of the story to its viewers. It turned to NSSLGlobal, an Inmarsat reseller and partner, to get the solution up and running within a very short timescale.

Lights, camera, action

On 6th December 2013, NSSLGlobal received and processed an order from the BBC for two BGAN Explorer 710s.  Using Cobham’s EXPLORER 710, the first and only terminal that can Inmarsat’s HDR service, NSSLGlobal immediately activated the SIMs.  On the same day, a BBC engineer boarded a flight to South Africa with the BGAN Explorer 710 fired up and ready to go.

On 7th December, the BBC was able to stream live pictures from Nelson Mandela’s neighbourhood in HDR; the first time the BBC has ever transmitted content in this format.