Lancaster University

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Village cricket match is broadcast live over the Internet

05/03/2011 00:00:00


Computing researchers at Lancaster University have helped a village community achieve what could be a world first for cricket fans.

The thwack of leather on willow from a village cricket match was broadcast live over the Internet on Easter Monday at thanks to superfast broadband provided by Lancaster University as part of a long term research project looking at providing broadband and wireless networks to remote places.

University researchers and engineers have provided a 100Mbps fibre connection into the Village Institute at Wray, Lancashire, and supplied special boxes to homes across the village to create a ‘mesh ’network providing Internet access to hundreds of homes. The community has campaigned hard for internet access to support their village and the University was happy to help as computing researchers are using the network for research purposes.

Video footage from the village cricket match can be uploaded thanks to the fact the new network can upload and download content equally quickly and the idea has caught the imagination of media, bloggers and tweeters including Stephen Fry.

Dr Nicholas Race, who leads the Wray research at Lancaster University’s InfoLab21, said: “We first began working in Wray in 2003. At that time the community had no access to broadband, and so the idea was that in building a wireless mesh network around Wray we could offer the community Internet access but at the same time use that infrastructure for research at Lancaster.

“Since then the activities in Wray have really gathered momentum, and the University is working with the community on a whole range of research projects.We’ve also recently deployed a next generation broadband network in the village, which provides the community with access to one of the fastest Internet connections in the region. The symmetrical nature of this connection – enabling people to download and upload at equal speeds – is really important in allowing users to become producers of content.”

The work in Wray has been partially funded by the European Union project P2P-Next which is building a platform to support the future delivery of television over the Internet. Lancaster’s role within P2P-Next is in evaluating this technology with real users as part of a large-scale technical trial, known as a Living Lab.

The infrastructure in Wray forms part of this Living Lab, enabling villagers to watch and broadcast TV quality content – such as the cricket match – from their armchair or even the village green.

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