Radio broadcaster and Classic FM owner GWR is consolidating its data, voice and broadcast systems onto a national IP network in a £3m, five-year deal with telecoms operator Thus.
The new multi-label protocol-switching (MPLS) network will allow the owner of 31 local FM stations to multicast commercial audio broadcasts over the network, cutting satellite transmission costs.
The network will also allow GWR to run Voice over IP (VoIP) and data applications such as email, internet and file transfer over the same network.
As MPLS is able identify each data packet entering the network, it can prioritise live broadcast data over email, internet and voice, ensuring that broadcast quality remains high.
"The system allows us to distribute content digitally from Bristol to our local radio stations and cut down on satellite costs," said Vincent Bourne, infrastructure manager at GWR.
"You feed one copy of a broadcast in and can get it picked up 31 times."
Up to 50 per cent of GWR's commercial broadcasts could be carried over the IP network in the future, Bourne estimated.
GWR intends to use the network to share broadcast content, including celebrity interviews and major concerts.
The radio broadcaster will also use the Thus network combined with Cisco VoIP systems to cut down on voice costs.
"It is bringing substantial savings on telephony costs," added Bourne.
GWR will link the IP network with its 'store and forward' data systems used to distribute digital content, such as adverts and songs, around the firm, cutting down on the need for bike couriers and lower-quality tape recordings.
"Digital radio is becoming increasingly popular, and this system allows GWR to adapt to this change," said Bourne.
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