TeliaSonera’s reliable fibre connections convey the atmosphere from the Eurovision Song Contest

TeliaSonera has concluded an agreement with the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE on the provision of the telecommunications connections required by the television production of the semifinal and final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2007 at the Helsinki Arena. The telecommunications connections of the international media centre to be located at the Helsinki Fair Centre will also be provided by TeliaSonera.

The Eurovision Song Contest requires high-speed, high-quality telecommunications connections that are reliable and free from interference. The most important connections will be duplicated, anticipatory backup systems will be built and enough capacity will be allocated so that the network will not fail at any point. ”In Finland, Sonera has unique experience in the design and implementation of telecommunications connections for big international events. In the Eurovision Song Contest we can again utilize the experience we have gathered,” says TeliaSonera’s Tero Lehtonen, Project Manager for the Eurovision Song Contest in Finland, who is responsible for the agreement negotiations.

15 duplicated fibre pairs from the Helsinki Arena to Pasila

The main venue of the Eurovision Song Contest is the Helsinki Arena. From there, the TV signal will be transmitted through Sonera's fibre optic network to YLE’s production facilities in Pasila and further to around the world. There are 15 fibre pairs allocated for the production use, divided to several routes. With the reserved fibre capacity, 1.5 million households could be provided with a 1 MB broadband access.

“YLE will assure the whole Eurovision Song Contest 2007 production technology with double or even triple backups, and this goes for all the signals. This is because the broadcast goes live to over 50 countries and cannot under any circumstances be interrupted. We won’t want to use any “Just a minute” banners in this case,” says Executive producer Heikki Seppälä, YLE.

Most of the fibre capacity needed is in place, and the building of additional capacity is underway. Interference-free transmission from the Arena to YLE is ensured by setting up duplicated connections along two different routes. ”Duplication is the key. For our part, we want to make sure that over 100 million spectators can keep their fingers crossed for their favourites without having to worry about interference in international broadcast service,” says TeliaSonera’s Timo Lahtinen, responsible for the project’s production.

TeliaSonera is also responsible for the international voice connections for commentators. A total of 37 temporary commentator boxes will be built at the Arena. The commentators’ voice connections are very important to all countries, as no subtitles can be used in live broadcasts.

The production agreement also covers the voice and data transmission needs of YLE and of both domestic and international cooperation partners at the Arena.

International media centre at the Helsinki Fair Centre

The international media centre located at the Helsinki Fair Centre will accommodate 500 desks with computers, voice and data connections and a wireless LAN. 300 laptops will be reserved for the reporters’ use. The representatives of the media can also access the high-speed LAN or the WLAN from their own computers. The network capacity will be designed to cope with the highest peak loads. Even if all the workstations were used simultaneously at maximum capacity, it would not slow down the network.

Competence and experience play a key role

The TeliaSonera team has solid experience in the design and implementation of connections for major events. ”Technology is important, but the key factor in the success is, however, how we succeed in this task as a team. Experienced personnel and earlier, successfully implemented events provide a solid backbone for the implementation of the Eurovision Song Contest,” says Timo Lahtinen, who has been responsible for several successfully completed production projects.

Experience and expertise was most recently gained at the EU Presidency meeting arrangements in autumn 2006, the biggest meeting being the ASEM meeting at the Helsinki Fair Centre. Sonera has also gathered organizational experience from the World Championships in Athletics held at the Olympic Stadium in 2005; at the Arena, Sonera has been responsible for the telecommunications connections of the Ice Hockey World Championships in 1997 and 2003 and the Figure Skating World Championships in 1999.

TeliaSonera is the principal international sponsor of the Eurovision Song Contest held in Helsinki. A record high number of countries – 42 in all – will send their representatives to compete in Helsinki. In the last year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Athens, the victory went to Lordi, which is why the contest will now be held in Finland.

Further information:
Timo Lahtinen, Production Manager
Tel. + 358 400 938 889
E-mail address firstname.lastname@teliasonera.com

Tero Lehtonen, Project Manager for the Eurovision Song Contest in Finland
Tel. + 358 40 820 7518
E-mail address firstname.lastname@teliasonera.com


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For further information, journalists can contact:
TeliaSonera Press Service in Finland, +358 (0)2040 60235