London North Eastern Railway (LNER) is to trial a system that will enable passengers to stream video content to their devices without straining the train’s WiFi service. The UK train operator is partnering with Netskrt to offer streamed shows form ITV Hub.
The trial service is currently available on three electric Azuma trains running up and down the main line between the Scottish Capital and London. According to LNER, the service means passengers will be able to stream over 6,000 episodes in ultra-high definition from ITV Hub “without eating into personal data or the train’s WiFi bandwidth”.
The train company says its own surveys show that 69% of customers take good WiFi into consideration when choosing how to travel. For business travellers, this rises to 79%. If the WiFi service drops, then just over three quarters of passengers say they will change to use their own 4G or hotspot, whilst a third of those surveyed would simply stop using their device altogether.
LNER believes that its new service, supplied in conjunction with NetSkrt, will help keep WiFi free and uncluttered for passenger use. The service will, LNER says, enable travellers to continue watching programmes even when the trains are going through tunnels or rumbling across remote rural moorlands.
The technology is powered by Netskrt edge Content Deliver Network, and customers will have to log into their own ITV Hub account via LNER’s free onboard WiFi. Content is also uploaded while the trains are moving, meaning that the catalogue is refreshed regularly and passengers get access to the latest titles.Danny Gonzalez, chief digital and innovation officer at LNER, said, “Edgecasting will dramatically improve onboard entertainment for our customers – critically, without eating into the Wi-Fi bandwidth of our business customers. We hope this first-of-its-kind trial lays the foundations for the technology to be adopted across all UK rail operators in the future to enhance customers experience.”