Public Radio Satellite System Chooses ATX to Deliver Future System of Content Distribution

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Public Radio Satellite System Chooses ATX to Deliver Future System of Content Distribution

Washington – February 27, 2019 – The Public Radio Satellite System (PRSS) has selected ATX Networks, a technology leader of media access platforms, to design and deliver the future distribution system of public radio. The deal, worth an estimated value of $4.3 million, will make use of ATX’s XDS System and is the culmination of more than a year spent by the PRSS to vet numerous vendors and technologies.

The agreement, which was finalized in December 2018, calls for a complete head-end to be built at the PRSS Network Operations Center (NOC) located at NPR Headquarters in Washington, D.C., PRSS’ back-up NOC in St. Paul, Minn., and testing environments for continued development of ContentDepot, the official distribution system of public radio.

The head-end is the hardware and software technology that receives public radio content from producers and distributors, passes it through the PRSS NOC, encrypts it, and then sends it to the satellite or internet to be delivered to receivers at stations nationwide. The first of the head-end environments is expected to be deployed in early 2019.

As part of the deal, each public radio station that is a member of the PRSS will receive XDS-PRO receivers for installation at their facilities. Stations will receive their new receivers as part of a roll-out campaign that will distribute the hardware in waves. Distribution of the receivers is expected to begin in late 2019 and continue into 2020.

ATX will also provide the Network Management System (NMS), which will allow PRSS engineers at the NOC to monitor transmission activity and the overall health of the broadcast system. The NMS will allow a bird’s eye view of the entire nationwide system as well as a back channel to each individual receiver to allow for assistance and support in the event of a technical malfunction.

“Selecting a partner to help develop the future systems project has been one of our top priorities for more than a year, and I am very pleased to announce the selection of ATX to deliver this mission-critical system,” said Michael Beach, Vice President of NPR Distribution, which manages the PRSS and ContentDepot. “The XDS System is a working technology that is already delivering results, and we’re very confident that ATX will be able to effectively build upon their successes with it to fulfill our goal of creating an entirely new content distribution platform for public radio.”

The PRSS future systems initiative is essential for public radio as the hardware and software components of the last system upgrade, which occurred in 2010, are approaching end-of-life.  The current hardware has been in use for more than eight years now, and many individual units are maturing.

The new receivers will also provide new features that have been requested by stations in collaboration with NPR Distribution. One of the top priorities for stations had been the ability to deliver live streams via the internet. With the current distribution system, live programming is primarily sent to stations through the Galaxy 16 satellite, which makes stations vulnerable to an outage since there is only one point of failure.

The new receivers’ ability to send live streams over the internet allows a failover option of acquiring the programming if a station’s satellite antenna goes down for any reason. In addition, the new system will allow streams to be sent over multiple paths such as satellite or internet simultaneously for greater flexibility and efficiency.

Along with improvements to the PRSS NOC and BuNOC, the ATX system will provide new virtual environments for PRSS software engineers to develop and test out upgrades and improvements to its core product, ContentDepot. These staging and development environments, once constructed, will be thoroughly tested to ensure their integrity and ability to facilitate work on new versions of ContentDepot.

“ATX is thrilled to be chosen as the PRSS’ partner in developing and providing such an important suite of products and services to enable the continued success of public radio,” said Jose Rivero, ATX GM, Chief Technology & Strategy Officer, Media Broadcast. “We are looking forward to a long and successful collaboration with the PRSS.”

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About NPR

NPR's rigorous reporting and unsurpassed storytelling connect with millions of Americans everyday—on the air, online, and in person. NPR strives to create a more informed public—one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas, and cultures. With a nationwide network of award-winning journalists and 17 international bureaus, NPR and its Member Stations are never far from where a story is unfolding. Listeners consider public radio an enriching and enlightening companion; they trust NPR as a daily source of unbiased independent news, and inspiring insights on life and the arts. Learn more at npr.org/about or by following NPR Extra on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

About the PRSS

The Public Radio Satellite System (PRSS) is the distribution network through which thousands of hours of news, music, and specialized audience programming are delivered every year to public radio stations throughout the United States. Managed by NPR Distribution, the PRSS is a unique, cooperative enterprise. Each participating station is a stakeholder in the collective assets of, and services provided by, the satellite system. Interconnected stations own their own downlink and uplink equipment. The satellite transponder capacity and the national operating system equipment located in Washington are owned by the Public Radio Satellite Interconnection System Charitable Trust. For more information, please visit us at www.prss.org.

 

About ATX Networks

ATX Networks is disrupting the future of broadband access. Every second of every day, our market-leading and award-winning solutions transport more than 2,500 terabytes of data between smart devices and intelligent networks. ATX is teaming with the world’s most innovative cable, satellite, fixed telecom, wireless and media broadcast service providers to usher in a new generation of ubiquitous gigabit broadband. For further information, visit ATX at www.atx.com, and follow us on Twitter @ATXNetworksCorp.

Posted: February 27, 2019