Locast says it has more than 1M registered users

TV antenna
Locast offers free access to local broadcast channels over the internet. (Pixabay)

Locast, a free streaming app offering access to local broadcast television, said it has surpassed one million registered users.

The statistic came in an email sent to Locast members. The company also said that it’s now operating in 17 cities and available to more than 41 million TV homes, covering 36% of the U.S. market.

The email blast also took a shot at cable and satellite providers that have recently raised their monthly rates.

Sponsored By Harmonic

How To Lower the Cost of Ownership of Your Cable Access Network

This white paper presents a cost analysis of a virtualized cable modem termination system (CMTS) deployed in a distributed access architecture (DAA). Learn how to eliminate traditional CMTS constraints, efficiently enhance your network performance and more.

Cable and satellite TV providers have announced more rate increases for 2020. In fact, Comcast is raising rates on its broadcast channel package 50%,” the company wrote. “Why pay more when you can sign up to Locast in 17 cities and watch your local broadcast TV channels for free via the internet?”

RELATED: Free broadcast TV app Locast launches in Seattle

Locast last week added Sioux City, Iowa to its list of cities. The service is also available in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Houston, Seattle, Dallas, Boston, Denver, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and in Sioux Falls and Rapid City in South Dakota.

Locast does not charge fees for its service, but it does ask for donations to help fund its continued expansion into new markets. The company operates for free under a copyright statute that allows non-profit translator services to rebroadcast local stations without receiving a copyright license from the broadcaster.

However, Locast has drawn the attention of major broadcasters including ABC, CBS, Fox and NBCU, all of which last summer filed a lawsuit asking the court to prohibit Locast from operating its service, and to award damages connected to Locast’s operations.

The lawsuit contends that Locast is not merely boosting broadcast signals for those who can’t receive them. It accuses Locast of operating with its own commercial benefit in mind, as well as the commercial benefit of large pay TV operators including DirecTV and Dish Network.