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Leeds Council, Virgin Media Business, Siklu Provide WiFi Coverage for Tour de France Grand Départ
|By Business Wire
|July 24, 2014 05:00 AM EDT
On July 5, hundreds of thousands of fans and spectators poured into
Leeds, the third largest city in the UK, to witness the Grand Départ of
the 2014 Tour de France. Leeds Council chose Virgin Media Business to
provide free high-speed WiFi coverage in the city centre. To ensure the
most reliable and fast connection to the Internet, Virgin Media Business
selected Siklu’s tiny Gigabit 60GHz radio for backhaul.
The Grand Départ of the 101st Tour de France, visiting Yorkshire for the
first time, attracted an estimated 230,000 people to the Leeds city
centre, and took months to prepare to ensure its success. Part of this
was providing Internet connectivity for the crowds who visited and
shared this once-in-a-lifetime experience via social media.
The challenge fell to Virgin Media Business, which was awarded a
concession by Leeds City Council in 2012 for access to street furniture
to provide public WiFi and to boost mobile data services in locations
across the city. In preparation for the Tour de France event, Virgin
Media Business boosted its WiFi coverage to prepare for the expected
enormous number of simultaneous Internet sessions.
Many of these WiFi hotspots connected directly to the fibre backhaul,
but others needed wireless backhaul. Following a trial of several
months, Virgin Media Business selected Siklu’s EtherHaul-600T – a tiny,
unobtrusive radio providing gigabit throughput. These were deployed by
the Leeds City Council lighting contractor along major streets in Leeds,
on different types of lighting poles.
The Tour de France is the third largest sporting event in the world. It
was absolutely vital to provide reliable high-speed Internet connections
for the thousands who lined the city centre streets for the launch.
Moreover, The Headrow is the principal shopping street, and houses the
top cultural buildings and period architecture. Therefore, it was
equally vital to ensure any equipment deployed in the street blended in
Bruce Girdlestone, Senior Business Development Manager, Virgin Media
Business, said: “This has been a fantastic collaboration between a
number of different parties to bring reliable, high-speed mobile
connectivity to the thousands of people who enjoyed this
“It’s a great example of the opportunities that enhanced broadband
connections can bring - and not just during big sporting events like
this. It’s also shown the resilience of the infrastructure in meeting
the demand for higher capacity data services through smartphones and
“This is one of the many applications for which EtherHaul is an ideal
solution,” said Shahar Peleg, Director of Product Management and
Marketing of Siklu. “Users constantly require even higher capacity
Internet connection on the go, via both WiFi and the cellular network.
Providing such capacities require street level installation, with
minimum footprint, high reliability and completely automatic
installation. We are delighted to have been able to provide visitors to
Leeds and Tour de France, as well as their many social media friends,
with a memorable and positive experience.”
About Virgin Media Business
Virgin Media Business is the largest business-to-business Virgin brand
and part of the Virgin Media group, the UK’s first provider of all four
broadband, TV, mobile phone and home phone services. The division prides
itself on delivering innovative, high quality solutions that break down
the barriers facing UK organizations today. Organizations working with
Virgin Media Business include Knight Frank, Telefonica, London Grid for
Learning, Hampshire Fire and Rescue and Cambridge County Council. Virgin
Media is a part of Liberty Global plc, the world’s largest international
cable company. Together Virgin Media and Liberty Global serve 25 million
customers across 14 countries, helping connect people to the digital
world and enabling them to discover and experience its endless
possibilities. To see analysis on the current issues surrounding
business-to-business telecoms please visit our blog or get involved at http://twitter.com/vmbusiness.
Siklu builds gigabit millimeter-wave wireless backhaul solutions over
the 70/80 GHz E-band and 60 GHz V-band. Based on a unique all-silicon
design that reduces price, minimizes the form factor, and increases
reliability, Siklu's radios are ideal for macro and small cell backhaul.
Leveraging this state-of-the-art all-silicon radio technology, Siklu
developed the EtherHaul-600T, a palm-sized all-outdoor small cell
backhaul product that allows rapid deployment anywhere, including street
lamps, rooftops, and the sides of buildings. Representing a crucial
advance for mass deployment of small cells, the integrated, all-silicon
Siklu approach brings down costs to a fraction of other millimeter wave
solutions. Siklu's field-proven technology is becoming the top choice of
Tier 1 operators for gigabit backhaul worldwide, and thousands of units
have been deployed and are operating reliably in all weather conditions.
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