The Not the Royal Wedding Channel

This is one of those ideas you have which would be great, but it’s just too late to do anything about it.

I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve spoken to recently who are desperately looking for something to do which allows them to ignore that big event happening in London tomorrow (Friday 29th April). These are not people who are wanting to go out and protest about the expense and the waste of it all, or what it says about the continuing feudal nature of British society, they just don’t want anything to do with it, and are irked with the obsessions of the mainstream media. Some are going to take to the hills and dales with a backpack and a picnic, but others are looking for alternative entertainment. And, a number of people have said to me that #twicket (see here if you don’t know what I’m talking about) is just the kind of event they’d like to watch instead of that other happening. You could still do that if so inclined, as the full #twicket event is archived at

I know there are lots of things happening tomorrow that fall into this category. If I’d have thought of this earlier, I’d have encouraged as many people as possible to live stream their event, tag with the hashtag #ntrw (not the Royal Wedding) and set up an online channel to pull the content together. I think it’s too late to do that now (isn’t it?), but I wish I’d thought of it earlier.

Nevertheless, if you are doing something interesting and non-royalty related tomorrow, please feel free to live stream it and add #ntrw to it.

Sponsorship Needed for #twicket


So far, we have made the Twicket broadcast happen with very little financial sponsorship. A number of people are putting in help in kind and free support, and I am very grateful for that.

Later today (21st April), we will be launching the official site, which will, with the kind support of PayPal, incorporate a mechanism for people to contribute small donations.

We still need sponsorship, however, for the items below.  Please get in touch if you can help.

I am very grateful for the following sponsors who have contributed in kind to date:

CLA (Country Land & Business Association) [cash]

Aquila TV & Event With Me [live broadcast, streaming and website]

Radio Youthology [live audio broadcast]

PayPal [donations system]

Lancaster University [connectivity]

NextGenUs  [connectivity]

The people of Wray [for putting up with all this]

Chris Conder – for being @cyberdoyle

Dan Slee for the inspiration

The Guardian [support and publicity]

Metro newspaper [publicity]

BBC Radio Lancashire [publicity]

And thank you to all those who have tweeted and re-tweeted their support, too numerous to mention, except for Stephen Fry, without whom this would not be what it is, and who I WILL mention.

If you HAVE contributed, and I haven’t mentioned you, firstly, please accept my sincere apologies, and then SHOUT so I can correct the omission.


All sponsors will have the opportunity to have a banner at the side of the field during the match, and to have logos / branding on the main web portal via which the broadcast will be streamed.

Any sums, no matter how great or small will be gratefully received.

Items required

  • Cricket whites  £400
  • Bats   £300
  • Pads  £200
  • Gloves £100
  • Accommodation £400
  • Gazebos  £100
  • Umbrellas  £30
  • Travel  £250
  • Additional camera hire £250
  • Macbook laptop £1000

Any additional sponsorship secured beyond the minimum required for immediate needs will be applied to the creation of the Twicket Social Enterprise, which will work with Parish Councils and community groups to promote the cause of rural broadband in the following ways:

  • More events like twicket which demonstrate the benefits decent broadband connectivity can bring to rural communities;
  • demonstrating the benefits of broadband, including telehealth, telecare, e-Government services, shopping online, remote learning, keeping in touch with relatives and friends;
  • helping Parish Councils and rural community groups to develop online social networks which enhance the work of community building and local economic development;
  • building websites, blogs and portals to share best practice in rural community and economic development;
  • running Social Media Surgeries, workshop and advice sessions to help rural individuals and groups realise the benefits offered by the internet;
  • facilitating the development of community-led local solutions to broadband access.

Please contact John Popham for more information:  john.popham[at]

CLA applauds world’s first village cricket broadcast

Country Land and Business Association
News Release
15 April 2011

CLA applauds world’s first village cricket broadcast

The CLA in the North has praised an initiative at Wray village in rural Lancashire as a clear demonstration of the effectiveness of communities working together as well as and of the potential of superfast broadband.

A cricket match to be held on Easter Monday – Wray vs the Rest of the World – will be streamed live by video over the internet in what organisers believe is a world first. Yet the broadcast is possible only because a team of dedicated local volunteers, working with Lancaster University have achieved the seemingly impossible and installed a 30Mbps community network with download speeds eight times faster than the typical UK household’s broadband and upload speeds about sixty times faster.

Organiser John Popham said: “I’m excited about this. It’s a bit of fun, but it has a serious purpose too. The serious side is to demonstrate that it can be done, it IS possible to stream live broadcast events like this using relatively cheap equipment and a good internet connection. It will also demonstrate the importance of good internet connectivity in rural areas, and the need for fast UPLOAD connections if we are to realise the aspiration to use the internet to enable more people to produce their own content.”

The CLA, which has been campaigning since 2002 to enable fast, affordable broadband in rural areas, says that for all the hype, many rural areas still cannot access fast broadband via conventional technology and is concerned that the race for ever faster speeds simply widens the divide between the broadband haves and have nots.

Douglas Chalmers, Director CLA North, said: “I think that this is a tremendous initiative. While others were talking and waiting for broadband, the villagers of Wray simply rolled up their sleeves and just did it. The network will bring both economic and social benefits to this rural area, and local businesses can now compete on equal terms with their urban competitors.

“Broadcasting a village cricket match to the world is a master stroke. Of course it will interest cricket fans, and I can imagine many ex-pats very keen to be virtual spectators at the type of quintessential English event they remember and miss.

“But of course it highlights the potential of effective broadband in a novel and entertaining way. To some, it may be just a village cricket match, but if an action based event can be beamed from a remote village to around the world, the other applications seem limitless. Of course you will need a good broadband connection to watch it!

“This may encourage other communities to consider following Wray’s example, and I would hope that our politicians take note and recognise broadband as an essential utility worthy of priority investment.”

“This is one match where everyone could win.”

For full details see

A World First – Live Broadcasting a Village Cricket Match

Don’t you just love it when an idea comes together?

Nice Pull, Sir!

Photo courtesy of David Howlett

This is a project which went from a spark inspired by a random tweet to a firm world first in about three hours.

There were two tweets which really inspired this. The first was from Dan Slee expressing his hopes for keeping up with a local village cricket team via twitter, the other was from Chris Conder (@cyberdoyle) as she tested the 30Mbps symmetrical internet connection her village now has access to, courtesy of Lancaster University.

My twitter conversation with Dan centred on what a nice thing it would be if we could live stream video of village cricket matches. And then it occurred to me that this could indeed be possible if we had access to the sort of connection available in Chris’s village of Wray. So, the next step was a Skype call to Chris to ask if they had a village cricket team, and, if so, is the cricket field in range of the wifi network? The answer came back, that, yes there is a team, and that, although the field is not yet within range of the network, it could be a relatively simple matter to connect it up.

Chris then told me that there is a special cricket match planned in Wray for Easter Monday as part of the village’s annual Scarecrow Festival (details here), this match is billed as Wray vs. the Rest of the World.

So, the plan was hatched. I’m pretty sure this will be a world first, a live internet video broadcast of a village cricket match. It’s gong to be a tall order to make this happen in a short space of time, but it can be done. And it can be done more smoothly with some finance, so I will be looking for sponsorship to help make this happen, please get in touch if you can help.

I’m excited about this. It’s a bit of fun, but it has a serious purpose too. The serious side is to demonstrate that it can be done, it IS possible to live broadcast events like this using relatively cheap equipment and a good internet connection. It will also demonstrate the importance of good internet connectivity in rural areas, and the need for fast UPLOAD connections if we are to realise the aspiration to use the internet to enable more people to produce their own content.

Watch this space for more details, I think this is going to be big.

Please get in touch if you would like to be involved in any of the following ways:

  • As a player for the Rest of the World Team (professionals / ex-professionals particularly welcome)
  • As a commentator
  • As an equipment supplier
  • As a sponsor
  • In any other way I haven’t thought of

I have a caravan which I am planning to turn into a mobile social media surgery. It needs a bit of money spending on it to make it roadworthy, and I am also hoping to get some art students to paint the outside to make it eye-catching. If anyone is able to provide some sponsorship towards this, I could make sure their logo is incorporated in the art work. It would be good to get this done before the cricket match to it is available as a base to work from on the day.


As the url of this post has been widely distributed (not least to Stephen Fry’s 2,446,087 Twitter followers – thanks Stephen!), I am going to update the post from here as things develop.

I suppose I wasn’t quite prepared for the amount of attention this idea would generate, but I am immensely gratified that it has. This is where we are at, only 36 hours since we started with it.

  • I am extremely pleased to welcome Aquila TV & Event With Me on board as the live broadcast partners. It is fantastic that such a forward-thinking outfit wants to be involved in this. There is a bit of a compromise here, as part of my reasons for wanting to do it is to demonstrate that this can be done with very cheap equipment. I am accepting Aquila’s offer of involvement in order to improve the viewing experience , which I think is important given the interest this has generated. We will, however, be making the point during the day that this can be done in other ways, and, some of the off-field coverage will be relayed via webcams
  • I’ve had a number of offers from people offering to act as commentators. I will be following these up as soon as I can, if you have offered, many thanks
  • We will also be joined on the day by Citizen Journalist Christian Payne (@Documentally) who will be bringing his extraordinary skills to bear on helping report the event to the world



Many thanks to Sarah Hartley for the lovely post on The Guardian’s Technology Blog






A particular thanks to Lancaster University for making it all possible



Thanks again to everyone who has offered support for the event. I’m meeting with the good people at Aquila TV on Friday afternoon, and, after that, should have a better idea of what is technically possible. Then I’ll be able to respond to your offers.



Thanks to Sarah Marshall for some more coverage



Coverage in the Metro newspaper today (Friday 15th April)



I was interviewed on BBC Radio Lancashire on Sunday 17th April, and Chris joined us on the phone



I went to Wray on Sunday to test out the connectivity for the live broadcast. I broadcast live from the #twicket field here:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

There were a few connectivity issues, which Guy Jarvis at NextGenUs is going to sort out for us this week. I broadcast the video below live from Chris Conder‘s farm which demonstrated that Chris’s connection was more robust.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

You can see more live broadcasts from the day (including “Milking Live”) here

More updates when new things happen


You know those wacky ideas I keep having.

Well, after the Creating Connections – Developing Rural Networking event in Huddersfield today, a group of us, namely myself, Paul Webster, Graham Richards and Simon Duncan, were discussing my idea to take advantage of the small number of beaches with wifi connections (including Scarborough and Blackpool) to hold the UK’s first Social Media Surgery on a beach (we’ve been beaten to the international first by India).

And then, Graham came up with the deal breaker which means we absolutely have to do this. “We could call it ebaywatch”, he said.

Now it has to happen.