Australia’s terrestrial broadcast platform covers 99% of the country’s population. It’s an integral link between broadcasters and their audiences, delivering trusted news, current events, sports and entertainment as well as vital public safety information during emergencies. The content created and delivered by broadcasters performs a critical role in shaping and influencing Australian culture and establishing our national identity.

Around the world, the broadcast industry is being transformed by evolving digital technologies that are catalysing the creation of new forms of immersive content, new ways to watch and new audience experiences. There is an ongoing imperative for broadcasters to use their resources as efficiently as possible, and to respond flexibly to audience demands and technological changes. The challenge for broadcasters is to rebalance resources and adjust to these pressures while continuing to meet traditional service expectations

Broadcasters are already active on a number of fronts in looking for efficiencies. Recently, broadcast industry players in Australia and around the world have begun sharing their media playout centres, moving toward shared infrastructure and outsourcing to or partnering with a neutral host.

SCA is a case in point. SCA is Australia’s widest-spanning commercial broadcaster and, like many other broadcasters, has historically owned, operated and maintained its transmission infrastructure. Considering the disruptive changes being faced by the broadcast industry, SCA developed a strategy to allow them to focus on their content and customer service strategy. To do this, SCA looked for a partner to provide a fully managed transmission service across its 334 sites. 

Tackling complexity  

The scale and technical complexity of SCA’s migration demanded a high level of expertise in system design, network planning and implementation, as well as strong project management and field services capabilities. BAI was selected through a detailed negotiation process to be the trusted provider of SCA’s broadcast transmission network, given our design, engineering and operational skills, and our best-practice methodologies – delivering 126 million broadcast hours every year to 99% of the Australian population. 

One of the first steps was to establish a granular view of SCA’s infrastructure and highly diverse sites, which varied from the types of services hosted to geographical characteristics. Deep local knowledge and precise site configuration were required, with both data quality and integrity fundamental to the integration. Most of all, based on experience handling large-scale, complex network transitions in the past, we knew it was important to be prepared for unpredictable challenges along the way. 

Adapt, mitigate, succeed

BAI worked closely with SCA, from due diligence through to execution and implementation, developing detailed planning specifications. Our team got straight to work executing the comprehensive integration plan to smoothly transition the SCA network into our fully managed service model while maintaining service integrity and minimising risk. 

 When it became clear that additional attention was needed to maintain data integrity and quality throughout the transition, we adapted our plan to include a site pre-visit during cutover and revisited sites that had been previously cutover to ensure quality control. 

Migration of SCA’s network began in September 2019 and was completed in April 2021. The scope included adding 148 new sites to BAI’s telemetry network.  

Five transmitters were also successfully replaced to enable integration into BAI’s monitoring infrastructure. BAI went above and beyond to achieve seamless integration: upgrading 33 sites, completing five structural upgrades, relocating two sites and removing 18 obsolete network monitoring platforms, with minimal impacts to services.

An experienced and reliable partner  

With deep knowledge of the broadcast and telecommunications industries and years of experience as a shared infrastructure provide BAI Communications brought the right skills, approach, and capabilities to support SCA’s strategic shift, enabling efficiencies in asset ownership, operations, and network reinvestment.  

Our extensive experience encompasses a wide range of communications, distribution, and transmission services. And our dedicated engineers apply expert knowledge across all facets of broadcast transmission, support, and infrastructure. Unique in the Australian industry, this breadth of knowledge allows us to prioritise resources to achieve the best response time and quality outcome for our customers.