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CNN uses BGAN satellite technology in Middle East


Inmarsat’s BGAN Streambox satellite technology is the driving force behind a top award for innovation won by global TV news broadcaster CNN for its coverage of the conflict in Lebanon in 2006.

CNN anchor and correspondent Hala Gorani said the BGAN technology has set CNN apart from other news services. “It makes our reporting so much better.”
CNN was presented with both the Innovation Award for Content Creation and the Judges' Award at the 2007 International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) in Amsterdam.
Journalists, able to carry all the equipment in a single backpack, filed hundreds of stories from the moment the DNG solution went live during the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict in July 2006.
Anthony Glass, chairman of Satellite Communications (SatComm), the local Streambox distributor, says a number of southern African broadcasters are already using the Streambox/BGan for news gathering.
“The system stands up well to rain, snow and sun, and its flexibility in accepting a variety of inputs has been extremely valuable. The portable encoder, the size of a laptop, is used for both realtime video transmission and for sending news segments edited on location,” he says.
Aneesh Raman, CNN Middle East correspondent, said the unit is very easy to carry and transport, “The whole rig fits easily into a backpack.”
Brent Sadler, Beirut bureau chief, says the BGAN is the type of cutting edge technology that makes breaking news possible.
Matthew Chance, senior international correspondent said the unit sets up quickly, making going live during breaking news faster than the competition. “The industry has needed this technology for years now. In the Israeli/Hezbollah conflict, using this technology, we were at the pinnacle of our skills when it came to digital news gathering.”  
Christian Streib, a photo-journalist, says all the three items used while broadcasting (camera, laptop and Bgan) all ran off batteries. ”So journalists are not dependant on any power source. You can move anywhere with it.”
CNN's digital newsgathering (DNG) solution is based on combining highly-portable video technology with the small, lightweight BGAN units for IP-based transmission. It enables immediate live and video FTP submission, real-time content monitoring, editing, and simultaneous voice and data communication.
In its award submission, senior CNN journalists and executives explained that BGAN is now an essential tool for any news crew working in the region.
Michael Butler, president and chief operating officer for Inmarsat, says: "We worked extremely closely with CNN throughout the development of BGAN, from the initial design stage to the testing and commercial roll-out. It was their willingness to work together, and the effort they put into our collaborative partnership, that resulted in the polished solution that BGAN delivers today.”