Fibre optic network replaces satellite links

Racing broadcaster Sky Channel has been weaned off satellite links and onto a fibre optic network to deliver live telecasts of Australian horse races to US punters.

The network is supplied by pan-Asian telco Asia Global Crossing which, says Sky Channel, is the first of many customers it expects to land in the media and entertainment sector.

The data communications company has been exploring ways of breaking out of its traditional financial markets for the past six months, marketing manager Andrew Temple said.

The telco's global IP fibre optic network embraces 200 cities and fits well with the business needs of media and entertainment companies, according to Temple.

Sky Channel telecasts will be transmitted via Asia Global Crossing's dedicated lines and Asynchronous Transfer Mode service to a centre in Kentucky, US.

From there they will be re-broadcast to US race tracks, wagering outlets and households.

The terrestrial network boasts half the latency of satellite services and offers more cost-effective bi-directional transmissions compared with one-way satellite links, a spokesman said.

The duplex capability will allow Sky Channel to pursue plans to import more racing products back into Australia as well as transmitting Australian content overseas, Jim Tinker, Sky Channel head of operations, said.

Majority-owned by US publicly listed telco Global Crossing, Asia Global also has Microsoft and investment company Softbank on its shareholder roster. Together they own about 30 per cent of the company.

It entered the Australian market in July by acquiring the Asia-Pacific region operations of IXnet, giving it a network operating centre in Sydney and 40 points of presence in countries through the region.

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