Advanced Television

LNER trials ITV Hub edgecasting on trains

July 20, 2022

London North Eastern Railway (LNER) has announced its UK-first edgecasting proof-of-concept trial that enables people to stream thousands of shows from ITV Hub in UHD – without eating into personal data or the train’s Wi-Fi bandwidth. The trial service is now available on three electric Azuma trains running between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh.

Rail users increasingly expect to have seamless connectivity while on-board trains. According to LNER data, 69 per cent of customers say that good-quality Wi-Fi is an important consideration for them when choosing how to travel, rising to 75 per cent and 79 per cent of solo and business travellers, respectively. However, when faced with glitchy Wi-Fi, 76 per cent opt to use their own 4G or personal hotspot, while almost a third (30 per cent) stop using their device altogether.

To solve this customer pain point, LNER has partnered with tech innovator Netskrt Systems to trial edgecasting technology on select services. LNER customers will be able to watch more than 6,000 episodes, picking up straight from their own ITV Hub account by logging in to LNER’s free onboard Wi-Fi.

The proof-of-concept is powered by the Netskrt edge Content Delivery Network (eCDN). This combines cloud-based machine learning with network-aware edge caching, storing on-demand content on-board LNER’s Azuma trains, meaning that customers will have the same high-quality viewing experience they would enjoy at home, even when going through tunnels or hard-to-reach network areas. Shows upload while the Azuma trains are on-the-move, meaning that the catalogue is constantly updated and passengers have access to the latest content. Shows are available to watch as soon as they are published on ITV Hub.

Danny Gonzalez, Chief Digital and Innovation Officer at LNER, said: “Customers are at the centre of our innovation journey, and we are constantly looking for ways to enhance the digital experience LNER delivers. We know how frustrating it can be to have poor connectivity and whilst there are continued efforts to improve network services across the UK, this transformational trial directly addresses the issue. 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’ experiences.”

LNER is trialling edgecasting technology on select services now.

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