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Commsworld sets the standard for connectivity at hugely successful 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships

Last month, Scotland made history by becoming the first country to ever host the inaugural UCI Cycling World Championships.

Over the course of 11 days, a total of 13 World Championship events took place, from indoor track cycling at  the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, to BMX riding at Glasgow Green, Elite Road Race events  in Glasgow’s city centre and across the central belt, Individual Time Trials in Stirling, Mountain Biking at Fort William and Glentress Forest, and Para Road Racing in Dumfries & Galloway.

Commsworld made history by becoming the first telecoms network provider to deliver connectivity for this new global event. The Edinburgh-headquartered company is a regular provider of connectivity for high-profile events – including golf’s Open Championship, UEFA Euro 2020 and TRNSMT – but the UCI Cycling World Championships, combining indoor and outdoor cycling within a concentrated 11-day period, were the first of their kind on this scale. 

In total, the World Championships were watched by an audience of millions on TV and online around the world, plus by those who headed to fan zones across Scotland, as well as taking in live events in venues and on the road, as more than 200 rainbow jerseys were awarded to the new world champions.

To deliver a successful Championships, Commsworld was tasked with providing a Wide Area Network (WAN) capable of providing the bandwidth necessary to facilitate global TV broadcasts – by the Host Broadcaster, EBU, (European Broadcasting Union)  to the BBC and to partner networks around the world,  Including online streaming of events.

Commsworld also provided internet access, and Local Area Network (LAN) and on-site WiFi connectivity for broadcasters, event operations, media, UCI, hospitality and technical teams at a number of venues across Scotland.

Being an inaugural event, there was no template to work from. Not only that, events were staged all over the country, with two of the most remote Championships taking place at the Nevis Range near Fort William and Glentress Forest in the Scottish Borders.

Commsworld’s team rose to the task and excelled. The result was highly resilient connectivity of 10 gigabits to key Championship venues in Glasgow, including George Square, the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, Glasgow Green and the BMX Centre, as well as to the BBC Scotland’s headquarters in the city.

These venues were linked to its ultra-fast UK-wide Optical Core Network, which allowed Commsworld to maintain full control and deliver scalable bandwidth to keep connectivity fast-flowing and reliable. The result was reliable coverage, both on TV and online.

Meanwhile, venues at Glentress Forest and the Nevis Range were connected through fibre transported by Commsworld staff up steep hills and into wooded areas. Delivering connectivity to areas with such challenging terrain geography was a major achievement for the team.

Commsworld worked with the UCI and Cycling World Championships to establish effective design and implementation of the LAN environments at selected venues. LANs were also connected to Commsworld’s Optical Core Network, which allowed for the flexibility needed for a massive upsurge in connectivity as events neared their climax. 

Commsworld engineers covered each of the sites in person for 16 hours a day, providing the project management and professional service expertise to every single event, as well as the technical resource to help those who needed it on site.

In total, 50 people provided more than 2,000 hours of support, laid 45,000m of structure cable, more than 10km of fibre cable, 137 wireless access points, 36 switches, configured over 1,000 switch ports, and connected 5,779 clients to WiFi. More than 200 hours of cycling was live streamed and footage from the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships was broadcast all over the world. 

Once the cyclists had all crossed the finish line and the media and spectators had headed off to the next event, Commsworld’s work was not finished. Staff had plenty of work still to do dismantling the infrastructure put in place, as is usual after events, returning the venues to their pre-race condition.

Thanks to their professionalism and dedication, the result was 11 days of excellent and unrestricted coverage that contributed to the 2023 Cycling World Championships being one of the top 10 most watched sporting events in the world this year, showcasing Scotland’s worldwide standing as a major event host. 

Bruce Strang, Commsworld Chief Operating Officer, said: “The 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships are a clear demonstration of how Commsworld delivers reliable service in challenging conditions and timescales. Our excellent team planned meticulously – no stone was left unturned to make sure that the connectivity was efficient, resilient and 100% operational for the full 11 days. 

“This was a high-profile and fast-paced environment and I cannot commend our people enough for their professionalism and can do attitude throughout the event.

“We have shown our capabilities at providing connectivity for a championships of this magnitude to not only a local but global audience, from multiple venues in some of Scotland’s remotest locations. I say well done to my team at Commsworld, congratulations to the UCI and 2023 Cycling World Championships, and congratulations to Scotland for making these inaugural championships so special.”