Othernet Satellite Radio

Hi guys,

Is there a reason Othernet Radio is using a fixed bitrate of 128kb/s?

From looking at the stream data, it’s running at a relatively high rate of 128 kb/s, but only using MP1/2 mono.

There’s more than enough space to offer multiple services in AAC+ or to offer the current service at a considerably higher rate.

Is there a reason for not using a codec with higher efficacy?

I work in broadcast radio in the UK, I’d be up for helping source content or creating some more bespoke services for Othernet, if that’s something you’re looking to develop.


The bitrate you are seeing is from the receiver to your browser. The audio bitrate over the air is around 8 kbps. At the moment, there is no audio in Europe; we need to implement a schedule which switches between audio and data, since the total bitrate from the satellite is 10 kbps. We have a faster channel in the US (20 kbps), so audio and data run simultaneously.

Just wanted to clarify that before we talk about any additional services.

Ah ok. Well that explains the bit rate I’m seeing through the online version of Skylark.

I didn’t realise there was such a difference between data rates from beam to beam. Are there plans to broadcast the same content to the US and Europe?

Are you trimming any other content the European feed other than radio?


The goal is to eventually have at least 20kbps on all beams, with the BBC World Service available on all of them, while simultaneously broadcasting weather, RSS feed, and messages. But each beam is independently driven, so the content does not need to be the same.

Ifwe added another 10kbps of bitrate, we could broadcast Bitcoin blocks. Good for publicity and possibly business, but not sure it’s really that useful.

I would really like to broadcast Khan Academy courseware and videos, but we still haven’t figured out how to get receivers into really remote locations.

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Maybe not the videos, but I really liked it when you had 20 minutes audio segments with the a short introductory statement describing “Up next is BBC news followed by Khan STEM course on number …”

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Satellite radio was a key reason for me getting a Dreamcatcher.

I was a big fan of Worldspace, it’s one the reasons I took interest in broadcast technology as a career.

Is there anyway of implementation within the bandwidth you’ve got now? Perhaps using a better codec than is already being used on the US beam?

The BBC World Service is a great choice, especially for parts of Europe and Africa.


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Accessing copyrighted radio content is an expensive deal for Othernet. Using VOA is easy as it is a US Government product which is an open source for reuse. BBC is quite another thing.

When we first started adding RSS news summaries, I worked to get BBC approval to allow Othernet to use it with no fee. Many Forum Members worked with others such as Aljazeera and DW. Many sources rejected our rapprochements.

If some of you Forum members have “ins” with Government and private radio sources, it will be helpful to Othernet if you would pursue gaining fee-free access.

I can envision a rotation between VOA and BBC news broadcasts. Add some others, and Othernet will really be cooking. Ken

So there are already agreements in place for the news content that’s being sent from the BBC and others?

I’m not sure how much help I can be in sourcing relevant 3rd party content.

I work for a commercial radio broadcaster in the UK with around 60 local and national brands, and whilst I think there wouldn’t be any objections to discussing open access to content, none of them are dedicated talk or news brands.

Worldspace did carry one of our stations for a while and this continued well after the commercial agreement ended and the company entered bankruptcy.

Podcasts might be another option, but again, it’s content that’s more music and entertainment focused.

I’m happy to make contact with our teams if you see any value there?


Yes that is correct. Either the corporate folks at Othernet worked them out, or some of us Forum Members did it for Othernet acting as volunteers. Ken

@kenbarbi is correct. When BBC is added, there will definitely be a fee we pay for is.
@Ross What kind of content do your stations have?