The contract is believed to be the biggest satellite news gathering (SNG) uplink contract in the UK and it is the first time that the deal has been brokered centrally, taking advantage of the new merged ITV. The deal will give ITV News greater flexibility and coverage. Currently, three contracts supply 10 trucks - mainly from SISLink and BT - but they are due to finish in the coming months.
SISLink will provide a complete SNG system, including vehicle-mounted uplinks, fixed uplinks and regionally based downlinks, totalling between one and three uplinks for each of the 11 regions within the ITV network. The first of 15 vehicle-mounted uplinks is due to be delivered by November and thereafter at a rate of one a week.
ITV will be supplied with SISLink's uPod system, which was launched at the beginning of the year. uPod is a self-contained automatic uplink which cuts out the need for an engineer on site.
As an alternative to the standard SNG vehicle, the uPod has been designed in-house to be small, flexible and modular but still produce results of a high quality.
The uPod is believed to have been one of the deciding factors over a competing BT bid but ultimately the decision came down to cost. Mark Chaplin, director of technical operations, ITV News Group, said: "We have a mantra ?more for less' and the SISLink uPod system meets our criteria of increased production capability at a lower cost. In partnership with SISLink we will be able to expand our regional SNG fleet by over 50% in the next six months."
SISLink general manager David Meynell said: "SISLink has worked extremely hard to develop and design from scratch and I believe that this very important contract with ITV indicates the quality and excellence of uPod."
SISLink was set up in 1989 as an independent satellite service.