Locast is now available to residents in Sioux City, Iowa. In spite of the streaming service facing court battles over the legitimacy of its live TV streams, Locast continues to expand to more locations in the U.S.
Locast provides the ability to stream local channels over the internet. However, this has caused legal issues for the service considering it is currently facing a court battle over whether it has the rights to provide access to local channels in the first place. While many major networks (including Disney, NBC, and Fox) say it doesn’t have the right, Locast draws on its non-profit status and consumers’ legal rights as justification.
At present, the service is only available in a select number of locations in the U.S., although that list has now grown by one.
This week, Locast confirmed the service has now expanded to include Sioux City, Iowa. This makes Sioux City the seventeenth location where Locast is available. With the service now live, residents can expect access to local news, sports, entertainment, weather, and emergency information.
In total, 20 local TV channels are now available, including the following: KCAU ABC 9, KTIV NBC 4, KPTH FOX 44/KMEG CBS 14, KUSD PBS, ION, LAFF, BOUNCE, DABL, Stadium, TBD., Comet, MeTV, The CW, Charge!, Court TV Mystery, Escape, PBS Kids, PBS World, and PBS Create.
Locast adds Iowa to its legal battle
As part of the announcement, Locast specifically states its service is addressing consumer pain points in Iowa. Locast explains that not only are a number of residents unable to pay the “rising rates” cable and satellite companies charge, but also how “for decades” some Sioux City residents have been unable to access local OTA channels “due to terrain or buildings blocking their signals.” This point plays right into the hands of Locast’s legal defense considering the service argues residents have the legal right to access local channels for free.
Further making the point, Locast also explains that the service has gone live just ahead of the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses – due to take place on February 3, 2020. Again, highlighting the need for residents to have access to their local TV channels for local information, and more.
From the major networks perspective, while residents are entitled to free over-the-air access to local channels, networks tend to sell the rights to companies wanting to re-transmit channels via their own services. Locast does not pay for those rights and that’s how it is able to offer access for free.
Sioux City residents can find out more information on Locast, by heading over to the service’s website.