On Sunday, February 26, tens of thousands of people around the world watched Liberty Global live-stream a rare type of solar eclipse via its Facebook page and YouTube channels, to showcase the capabilities of its robust broadband networks.

The Southern Ring of Fire solar eclipse was streamed directly from the remote town of Coyhaique, in southern Chile – one of the best places in the world to view the phenomenon – thanks to a specially-installed fibre connection.

Around 750,000 people watched or read about the live-streaming event, which started at 9.30am Chile Summer Time/12.30pm GMT and built up to the full eclipse just over an hour later, when the moon covered the sun’s disk and formed a glowing “ring of fire” in the sky.

The feed was available in 360° on Liberty Global’s YouTube channel – the first time such an eclipse has been shown in this format. Viewers wearing a virtual reality headset such as a Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear, or Oculus Rift actually felt as if they were there in the square and were able to fully immerse themselves in the excitement as people gathered to watch, as well as being able to see the eclipse itself. Viewers without headsets enjoyed the 360° experience on their smartphones or tablets by moving the device around as they watched, while Liberty Global’s Facebook page also featured a 2D stream directly from a telescope installed in the square.

“This event demonstrates how high-speed, stable broadband networks are bringing the wonders of the world to an ever-greater audience. I can’t think of a more stunning setting from which to showcase such an amazing event – which will be able to seen in 360-degrees for the first time by people all over the world.”Manuel Kohnstamm, Liberty Global’s Chief Corporate Affairs Officer

The project was in partnership with Liberty Global’s Chilean brand VTR – the largest broadband and cable TV provider in the country – and highlighted how the company’s investment in broadband infrastructure makes extraordinary content easily accessible across the globe.

The special event follows on from the November launch of Liberty Global’s GIGAWorld initiative, which outlines Liberty Global’s plans to bring gigabit internet speeds to the 11 European countries in which it operates. Around 43 million homes in Europe have access to Liberty Global’s fibre-based “GIGAReady” networks. Liberty Global expects that millions more homes will be connected over the coming years.