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Monday, 25 April 2011

#Twicket shows what can be done

The now globally infamous #Twicket Match in Wray, Lancashire today highlights just what can be done when rural areas have true broadband. The live streamed cricket match was a first on the Internet.....more details and full archive on

This blog post can be read at

Over 2700 people tuned in during the match from around the world to watch, and the online 'tickets' reached a staggering 1/2 a million(!) on Eventbrite.

The main problem with 21st century UK broadband from the telcos is that it is asymmetrical. This means that live streaming with multiple TV and video cameras, as well as the internet connectivity that was being used to tweet etc today is simply impossible in the vast majority of villages in the UK. This is why BBC and other outside broadcast teams have to rely on satellite for connectivity.

In fact, the opinions expressed on Twitter during and after the match were that there are only three such villages where such an event could take place - Ashby de la Launde in Lincolnshire, Great Asby and Wray / Wennington.

These three places have one thing in common - they are all home to community broadband networks that have been built because the telcos refuse to bring rural areas into the 21st century. Communities have worked together to bring FiWi (fibre-wireless) to their inhabitants.

What Twicket should graphically illustrate to everyone, whether they understand what true broadband is or not, is that when grassroots and communities get involved in delivering services that are required in rural areas, fantastic results can be achieved. (Including fully-clothed, 15 ft high, scarecrow streakers!). Additionally, a globule of imagination is all that is required to see how Twicket equivalents will benefit every community.

For instance, livestreams and archives of Parish Council meetings, church services, village events, remote education opportunities for undersubscribed classes (or for when the village hall is just too cold for yoga!), gigs, telehealth solutions, sharing village traditions across the fact, you name it, once you can create and share content over a symmetrical connection, the world really is your lobster.

To all those involved, a huge round of applause for creating a trend, firing up imaginations, and showing up the telcos.

Thank you to.....

@JohnPopham for his incredible work in making this happen and never being stumped by problems, and @DAnSlee for inspiring him
@Cyberdoyle (plus Debs etc) and Lancaster Uni for constantly evolving the Wray and Wennington networks to show other communities what can be done when academia and community join forces
Aquila TV for livestreaming
CLA, (CLA Photos) NGU and Talk about Local for sponsorship
RadioYouthology for live radio commentary
Mike Rawlins for his aerial photos
@Twicketbrenda for introducing a whole new field of cricket commentary, ably assisted by @Simon_Magus
Breakdance Billy (aka Adam) for the tea time entertainment
Stephen Fry for his RT
The Guardian, Metro and Radio Lancashire for publicity.
All the players, umpires and their yellow cards, tweeters, and everyone else involved.


P.S. A #Twicket secret - there is ethernet strung with the bunting across Wray main street!


Cybersavvy UK said...

Oh, and it was free to attend and the full archive was up in moments, for everyone to watch, wherever they are in the world. (Conference organisers: please take note!)

chris said...

great post as usual! you tell IT like IT is. two teeny corrections, Brenda doesn't tweet. she has a twitter account but never got the hang of using it, I don't know who was taking her name in vain today... it wasn't me... and also there isn't any bunting on the wire, its just held up with some rope from the fantastic ropeworks at Hawes. Local rope. We didn't put bunting on it in case anyone spotted it. It just looks like another bt phone wire. there are hundreds disfiguring the main st LOL.
keep rocking, thanks for a great post raising awareness of the issues faced in so called digitalbritain. Aquila TV were telling me they leave videos uploading overnight and were thinking they should relocate to wray where it just went right away. You would think Birmingham would have a better service wouldn't you? Heaven help us when the olympics start. we could be a laughing stock.

Andy Mabbett said...

It was indeed a fab event, and he point about Birmingham (or indeed anywhere else in the UK) is well made by Chris; but I rather think the Eventbrite figure is counting down from 500,000.

Anonymous said...

Great post, thanks, sums up why I wanted to do this, and what we achieved.

I think one of the key points is that it was a FUN event. You can demonstrate broadband to people, you can set out the facts, you can make the arguments, but, the best way to get the message across is to let people have fun while it is demonstrated.

People in the village were coming up to me and thanking me for doing this. In the pub afterwards, one villager was telling me about his spectacular catch in the match 2 years ago, and how disappointed he now is that this wasn't captured for posterity, unlike the events of today.

It was fun, people wanted to rush home and watch themselves back on the archived video. They are getting it now

Cybersavvy UK said...

@andy spoilsport!! ;o)

Somerset said...

The reason broadcasters use satellite is because they want a dedicated circuit that is not shared like the internet that can be quickly set up anywhere in the country.

What bandwidth was used?

Cybersavvy UK said...

@somerset I suggest you to talk to some of the blue light sat providers about their "uncontended" network.... and afaik the hard core stats from aquila etc are now available......

May give you some food for thought before your next post.

Anonymous said...


A couple of megabits per second is ample enough and VSAT is well suited to this application also.

TV companies have been using this technique for decades now in one form or another.

What makes the advance of digital technology interesting generally is its tendency to become affordable over time and the HYLAS-1 platform is a good example of this happening.

Blogged some more on this over at JEDs -

MB94128 said...

Re : FibreGuy's clickie to JED
"Twicket – the first match"
____(JanetEDavis blog post, 27 Apr.2011)