Along with announcing that its free service has expanded to Miami and West Palm Beach, Locast shared today that it now serves over 1.4 million users. With the addition of the new Florida locations, Locast is now available in 21 markets which cover 134 million viewers or 41% of the US population.
What is Locast?
Locast provides local broadcast signals over the internet in select cities, offering similar channels to those you would get with an antenna including ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS, getTV, Decades, and Buzzr. The free streaming service is run by a nonprofit organization, Sports Fans Coalition.
“Locast.org is a “digital translator,” meaning that Locast.org operates just like a traditional broadcast translator service, except instead of using an over-the-air signal to boost a broadcaster’s reach, we stream the signal over the Internet to consumers located within select US cities,” the website explains.
Is Locast Really Free?
Locast says it runs as a public service, offering local channels for free. The service does ask viewers for donations to help keep it up and running. While the donations are voluntary, Locast users say that notifications asking for a $5 donation come up frequently until that payment is set up.
Is Locast Legal?
The organization behind Locast says there is an exception in the FCC rules that allows them to air locals without paying the stations for the service. They say the service is protected by Title 17, Chapter 1, section 111 a) 5 of the Copyright Act a section that allows nonprofits to avoid many of the fees companies would typically pay to broadcast channels.
The streaming service has been in a legal battle with ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC since last summer. At the time, Locast sent Cord Cutters News the following statement: “Locast is an independent, non-profit organization that provides a public service retransmitting free over-the-air broadcasts. Its activities are expressly permitted under the Copyright Act. The fact that no broadcasters have previously filed suit for more than a year and a half suggests that they recognize this. We look forward to defending the claims—and the public’s right to receive transmissions broadcast over the airwaves—in the litigation.”
How to Watch Locast
Locast is currently available in the following markets:
- Los Angeles
- New York
- Puerto Rico
- Rapid City
- San Francisco
- Sioux City
- Sioux Falls
- Tampa Bay
- Washington DC
- West Palm Beach
You can watch on these devices, or online at locast.org.
- Android TV
- Apple TV
- Amazon Fire TV
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Jess Barnes attended Edinboro University and spent years working in nonprofit before taking up freelance writing in 2012. Jess has been working for Cord Cutters News since 2017.