Locast Branches Into Atlanta and Phoenix, Despite Legal Battle With Major Networks

Locast, the non-profit digital translator service, announced they will be launching in two new markets—Atlanta and Phoenix. Atlanta goes live today and Phoenix will go live tomorrow, October 18 allowing users with a broadband connection in these areas to view their local broadcast television channels for free using the Locast app or on www.locast.org. The expansion means Locast is now available in 15 markets.

In all markets, Locast offers ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, The CW, as well as other broadcast channels like Telemundo, Univision, PBS, and independent stations — when available. Since it is a non-profit, it has asked users for donations and has been using the market providing the most funding to decide which to launch into next.

In June, Locast expanded west, giving viewers living in San Francisco and Los Angeles access to major locals like ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, The CW, and MyNetworkTV — as well as PBS, PBS Kids, and other OTA channels like Cozi and MeTV.

Since then, the service has been in some legal hot waters however, with ABC, NBC, Fox and CBS filing a violation of copyright lawsuit against them. The networks argued that when Locast retransmits their signals it strips out vital information including Nielsen codes that are used to measure ratings. In addition, the networks also argued that if Locast, is truly a nonprofit, and not a pawn for AT&T and Dish, then there is no reason to require registration or gather its own consumer data—both of which Locast currently does.

Not to be intimidated, Locast countersued the networks, accusing the ABC, NBC, Fox and CBS of collusion. Locast claimed the networks interfered in a potential partnership with YouTube TV by disallowing it to provide access or Google would be “punished by the big four broadcasters.” The broadcasters—which own cable channels such as ESPN, Bravo, Fox News, and Showtime could band together and pressure Google as well as other pay-TV operators by refusing to sell their cable channels, Locast suggested.