LCR Connect takes Eurovision 2023 to a global audience

The Liverpool City Region’s new full fibre network, built as part of LCR Connect, a 50% publicly owned joint venture, has played a leading role in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

Utilising the 212km full fibre network that is being built across the six local authorities of the city region, LCR Connect provided the digital highway that enabled the successful delivery of the week-long celebration and Saturday’s final.

The grand final was broadcast live from Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena to a global television audience of more than 160 million people, with performances running throughout the week, including fringe events as well as two semi-finals.

LCR Connect is a joint venture between the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, led by Mayor Steve Rotheram, which owns 50% of the venture, alongside ITS, and NGE, who are delivering the network across the Liverpool City Region.

“Staging a global spectacle like the Eurovision Song Contest to hundreds of millions of viewers around the world was a massive triumph for our area – and one that was made possible, in part, by our world-class infrastructure.

“Through LCR Connect, we’re delivering the fastest internet speeds in the country and positioning ourselves at the forefront of the UK’s digital revolution – and stand ready to attract the thousands of well-paid jobs and training opportunities it will bring to our area. We’ve shown the world that nowhere is more capable, or qualified, to host global events than the Liverpool City Region.”

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region

Working with the BBC, technology partners and the National Cyber Security Centre, experts from LCR Connect and joint venture partners ITS and NGE provided the design and deployment of the network.

Utilising the ITS Faster Britain full fibre network, the solution ensured Eurovision 2023 was broadcast to the largest global audience in the contest’s history, as well as providing connectivity to the world’s media, audience members and visitors in the city.

Ahead of the event, organisers had been especially alert to a possible cyber-attack after Italian police thwarted attempts by pro-Russian hackers to disrupt last year’s event in Turin, so network security was a central element to this year’s planning.

To ensure resilience, the solution encompassed completely diverse routes from the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool to independent locations in London, where internet traffic was handed off to the BBC and the European Broadcasting Union, allowing the show to be beamed around the world.

And ITS, in partnership with leading security experts NTT, also provided protection for the public facing internet traffic at the arena, defending against distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks, a tactic commonly used by cyber-criminals.

“The vision of LCR Connect is to provide a world-leading full fibre network to the City Region, and this weekend that has been in evidence. We were delighted to work with multi-agency colleagues to deliver this event in Liverpool to a global audience.

“Our network and security measures have enabled broadcasters to take this spectacle to its biggest ever audience, providing reliable connectivity to visitors across the city, and contributed to a memorable week of celebrations across the City Region – it really does show the power of connectivity. I would like to thank the technical teams that have enabled such a successful event.”

Daren Baythorpe, CEO of ITS

“Eurovision 2023 has been placed under the sign of unity, which is also one of NGE’s values, demonstrated each day by the work our teams carry out together with the Liverpool City Region and our partner ITS to bring high-speed internet in the region.

“We are thrilled to have contributed to the successful delivery of this major European event, with the construction of a reliable and transformative infrastructure for local businesses and communities. A shout out to our Liverpool teams for their commitment.”

Scott Bicknell, UK Managing Director of NGE
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