How It works

Standard DescriptionTechnical Description

LCR Play a dark fibre and wireless network that circles the Liverpool City region: connecting up many studios, developers, testers. content creators & various event venues.

LCR Play is a digital infrastructure connection and once installed, it adds value to your building and the businesses within it by connecting them with other businesses located within other buildings, onto a private network that has been created for games companies, esports organisers and event venue operators.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do with it?

LCR Play just provides the network into a building, but it’s our members that find incredible applications and create use cases for it.  Some members use it to connect to a single member (like games company to another games company).

Some create a multi-user group on LCR Play, adding in several games companies that are then networked together for a set time or even full time (for example during a game title development) or others use LCR Play to connect their live gaming /development network directly to a pre-connected venue within the Liverpool City Region for when they hold developer conferences or Esports events.

To provide some examples, we’ve asked some of our members how they use LCR Play:

Games Companies

Connecting to other members to collaborate on projects, for example, sharing of code, screens, connecting together Virtual Reality Applications (due to the low latency enjoyed by LCR Play), sharing software packages with suppliers or customers in a closed user group. Some gaming companies connect directly with sound studios, visual development studios or many of the regions Film & TV build spaces for live development coupled with physical set space (augmented reality applications etc).

Esports Companies

Extending their network into various pre-connected event venues or Film & TV Build Spaces around the Liverpool Community Region so they can hold live tournaments while connecting back to their office servers or other partners, with guaranteed low latency and without the usual threats from cyber security incidents that could affect both the integrity of the games and the broadcast.

Joining together of multi-venue tournaments on a single flat network, for live streaming, inter-communication, game-play and the connection of backend tournament systems for the competition.

How much does it cost?

LCR Play is provided free of charge for all Baltic Broadband, Giant Communications, Broadway Partners, Refine Group, W3Z Broadband, Sparkz Network, MICT and 2020 Networks customers.

If you are interested in connecting your premises to LCR Play, please contact any of the companies above.

What speeds are available?

LCR Play is an uncontended flat layer2 dark fibre network with unlimited speeds available.  Most members are running 1Gbps, 10Gbps or even 100Gbps speeds between each other, with the speeds only limited to the optics used by the members themselves.  There has been recent talks with some members wanting to trial 400Gbps optics between members in late 2023, which is very much welcome.

LCR Play also comes with an optional 100% SLA (chargeable) that guarantees its performance, latency and hops and of course speeds.

Is it an internet connection?

The best way to think of LCR Play is a closed user group network that does NOT connect to the internet in any way, it’s a private metropolitan games network that circles the Liverpool City Region.

It’s simply a set of cables (dark fibre with a wireless backup) that links together various buildings , creating a local & private (layer2) network.

Members (game companies, esports and venues operators) use the network within pre-installed buildings to connect to other members in other buildings to share data, collaborate on projects, test code, perform live test driven development etc and or to hold live gaming tournaments and developer conferences that stream/connect back to games servers held in other buildings on the network.

As there is no internet involved and it’s just a direct connection from building to building, LCR Play has multiple advantages, such as reduced cyber security threats, privacy protection, lower latency and isn’t constrained by the usual restrictions with operating a publicly accessible network (such as the Internet).

All traffic on LCR Play stays local within the region and doesn’t go to London/Manchester or any internet exchanges, resulting in a more secure point to point or point to multipoint network that’s ideal for gaming and Esports applications.

Where can I see a list of members?

For security reasons, we don’t list the members on our website.  If you wish to find out if a member is on the network, you should approach them directly.

Who operates the LCR Play Network?

LCR Play is a Baltic Broadband initiative, who have designed and installed the LCR Play network alongside their own network over the last 10 years. 

Since 2016 LCR Play has been free of charge to all Baltic Broadband customers.

Baltic Broadband has also made the network freely available through all members of IX Liverpool who can also offer connections.

Their vision still continues to be to create the regions first large-scale private Metropolitan digital network that connects up all of the creative spaces, venues and content houses into a single flat network.

I’m a landlord, what can it do for me?

Bringing LCR Play into your building is a huge asset that will add value for your incoming tenants. By offering a pre-installed connection onto the LCR Play network, your tenants can enjoy fast, reliable digital connectivity between other members on the network.

These days, we’re finding that landlords who have LCR Play installed (alongside good fast internet) enjoy longer periods of occupancy and generally enjoy high per sq ft rentals compared to other unconnected premises.

LCR Play is a dark fibre and wireless network that is designed to be installed within the common area of a communications room within a building which then connects to various tenants within.

LCR Play is architected on a mixture of Software-defined WANs (SD-WAN) and Multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) and has been engineered as a closed user group, with super-low latency.

Once connected, the building becomes another node on a large metropolitan layer2 network that circles the region that offers speeds 100Gbps and beyond due to it’s dark fibre nature.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the typical latency?

Actual latency very much depends on the member that you are connecting with, however expected latency is around 2-3 ms at most, with a guarantee of no greater than 5ms as written into our service level agreement with you.

Some point to point connections (between one member and another) can be fine tuned to around 1ms or less on demand.

What is the wireless link for?

The wireless link acts as a backup to the network in case of a fibre break and act’s in a failover configuration should a failure happen.

What size ethernet frames can I send?

Frames are only limited by the node switches which will support 9,000-byte jumbo frames without difficulty.  A super jumbo frame (when the payload size is over 9,000 bytes) theoretical maximum payload is 65,535 bytes which could be supported if required.

How many members can I connect to?

Once connected to the network, you can connect to any of the members on the network without any limitations.  Each member has their own connection policy and you should ask the building landlord, member or event venue for details on how to connect to them.

How do users connect with each other?

We define the users who use the network as “members”.  Members are the games companies, esports organisers or venue operators to physically connect within an enabled building.  Once connected, members can create new “closed user groups” or join existing groups that have already been created by other members.

Closed user groups are similar to connecting everyone onto the same VLAN.  Ultimately, members decide who can join and be part of a group or they can create additional groups and invite members to be part of it.  Members generally create groups for specific purposes, such as:

A Games Project : They will invite various parties into the group for game development, testing of code and games, sharing of content etc.  Many will invite suppliers that are working on the project such as graphic designers, coders, sound studios, connecting various software applications together such as Unreal Engine, Pro Tools, Cubase etc.

Esports: Organisers

Can I get connected to the internet with it?

No internet connection is possible on LCR Play.  LCR Play has been designed to be a private closed user group network between buildings within the Liverpool City Region only.

Connecting it to the internet in any way would compromise the purpose of LCR Play.

Is it contended or speed restricted in any way?

Simply put, no.  As we use our own dark fibre network that goes point to multipoint, speeds/ bandwidth is only restricted by the optics that you, the member , connects to it.

The exception to this if another member decides to place a restriction on the speed/bandwidth to you, for example another member may only have a 10Gbps port and doesn’t want you to cause congestion on it, however such restrictions are between you and other member(s).

Getting Your Building Connected to LCR Play

Getting a building connected to LCR Play is easy and takes around 30 days from request.

Once connected, LCR play will remain within the building so future tenants can enjoy access to it.   There’s no cost for building owners to obtain LCR Play, only a commitment that they will help promote it to incoming tenants when possible.

Here’s how the installation works: