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Spotlight

Spotlight is an iconic brand in the film, TV and theatre industries. Since 1927, the company has been the “home of casting”. It connects performers with roles in theatre, television and film productions around the world. With studios in London’s West End, and a team of people across Europe, Spotlight is at the heart of the performing arts industry.

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Spotlight is an iconic brand in the film, TV and theatre industries. Since 1927, the company has been the “home of casting”. It connects performers with roles in theatre, television and film productions around the world. With studios in London’s West End, and a team of people across Europe, Spotlight is at the heart of the performing arts industry.

The West End location in London’s Leicester Square is sited in one of the UK capital’s busiest areas – the thriving theatre district which attracts tourists and theatre goers. This vibrant mix means network infrastructure requires regular updating, with all the problems of disruption that can cause.

The Challenge

Adrian Wardle, Head of Technology at Spotlight, explains that the company had experienced a number of problems with its broadband connection – from issues when other carriers were digging up the road to a rat chewing through cables! Regular disruptions and construction work close to Spotlight’s Leicester Square location meant that greater network resilience was required for the home of casting.

“We were experiencing considerable frustrations with our ISP,” Adrian says. “Even when we wanted to buy a new product we couldn’t get hold of people, so you can imagine the frustration when we needed to find out when they could fix an issue.” “We wanted to find a supplier where we could talk to a person, who could offer us a bespoke solution, and listen to our requirements as a customer. We didn’t want another giant company that would force an off-the-shelf solution on us that didn’t reflect our requirements.”

At the time Spotlight was investigating suppliers to find a new ISP and Connected UK was operating a Gigabit Voucher Scheme - a scheme designed to help organisations across the UK upgrade to Gbps-capable infrastructure. It was through this voucher scheme that Spotlight first came across Backbone Connect.

As an approved supplier to the scheme, Backbone Connect was one of several companies to which Adrian and his team reached out to. “We spoke with a few suppliers, but Backbone was a big standout for us because of the quality of their response. They were very human; they actively listened, and they didn’t try to oversell.”

The Solution

Backbone Connect’s proposal resonated with Adrian because it dovetailed closely with what he was looking for. “Backbone told us they were not trying to compete on price – although they were very costeffective – but they were competing on the level of service. The guarantee of good connections and the promise of a good relationship really encouraged us.”

Initially, Spotlight sought a provider for a redundant line to build resilience into the Internet service into their Leicester Square offices. This meant finding a different access point into the building in order to ensure greater resilience. “Backbone went away and really thought about what we needed.

 

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They proposed a solution for us to have Wireless Internet capability via a dish on the roof which would give us the resilience we need,” says Adrian. “It wasn’t just a cookiecutter standard service and we were impressed how Backbone tailored a service properly matched to our needs.” On the basis of this bespoke proposal, Spotlight looked at other ways in which Backbone Connect could help.

“We liked the idea of treating network capability a bit like electricity,” continues Adrian, “Backbone could manage the network for us from socket to Internet and we liked the idea of having just one number to call to manage our services.”

The Results

Much of the existing network was built on old technology and Spotlight expressed the view that parts of it were poorly managed. Spotlight handed the job of upgrading the network to Backbone Connect in its entirety. 

“Backbone did a really nice job of the network install,” reports Adrian. “It involved a lot of configuration and a lot of things that can go really wrong. But we left the office on a Friday afternoon and left the weekend for Backbone to swap out the network kit. They ripped out all of the old network, replaced it with new kit, and did all the new configuration. When we came in on Monday morning, nobody noticed.

I was really impressed it was a very nice piece of work.” While the Spotlight office team may not have noticed the lack of disruption when the network was upgraded, the difference was noticeable when the next service outage happened. Adrian explains: “When our wired high-speed fibre connection suffered an outage, it seamlessly clicked over to the Backbone microwave dish and the service carried on as before – we noticed no blips or interruption.

In the past, this would have meant re-cabling things and lots of disruption and lots of complaining.” Spotlight has introduced a new Internet-based phone service through Backbone Connect – moving from an onsite exchange and all the associated hardware to a fully managed service. Adrian says, “Backbone Connect gives us peace of mind, managing everything about the network from the socket onwards. I’ve been very impressed with their network engineers and all the support teams. They run a serious operation with good people and good processes.

Backbone is also great on the people side of things. I’ve found them easy to talk with and they’ve treated us personally as a customer – the people and the quality of the service and the support are easy to recommend.”

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