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Broadband Opportunities for Rural America


Broadband Opportunities

Cable Broadband Services

Cable Modem Technologies

cable imageCable television developed as a system of providing television programming to subscribers via signals transmitted through coaxial cable. Initially, cable television offered a means for homes unable to receive over-the-air broadcasting to have access to local television channels. In recent years, cable operators have upgraded infrastructure and employed the use of digital technologies to allow the offering of other services including high speed Internet access and cable telephony. Modern cable networks distribute video signals and data to subscribers through hybrid networks of optical fibers and coaxial cable.

Cable TV networks provide shared bandwidth among subscribers. Television channels are received at a central location called a headend. The headend also connects the local cable network to the Internet and the public switched telephone network. Video and data are consolidated at the headend and sent over the cable network to subscribers. At subscribers' homes, a cable modem is required to access the Interent.

Before commencing operation, a cable system operator must register with the Commission by filing a Form 322 Cable Community Registration for each community to be served. A cable operator is also required to obtain a franchise from the local franchising authority before providing cable service.

Cable Resources
 Diagram of Cable Modem Technology (pdf)
 FCC Media Bureau

FCC Proceedings Related to Cable Modem Services
In a 2002 Declaratory Ruling, the Commission determined that cable modem service is appropriately classified as an interstate information service under Title I of the Communications Act. In the Declaratory Ruling, the Commission also concluded that cable modem service does not contain a telecommunications service subject to common carrier regulation under Title II of the Communications Act.

 Inquiry Concerning High-Speed Access to the Internet Over Cable and Other Facilities, FCC 02-77 (Word)

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