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A guide for local officials and citizens concerned with cable development in their communities. Discusses the technology, economics, ownership, regulation, and uses of cable, emphasizing the programming and services cable can provide. Contains checklists for use in planning and drafting the franchise, exploring ownership options, selecting the franchisee, regulating the system, organizing for public access, and managing public services on cable. Discusses the FCC rules issued in 1972 requiring cable systems in the 100 largest television markets to provide at least 20 channels, a capacity for two-way services, leased channels, and channels for public access, education, and municipal services. Although urban cable systems are unlikely to be highly profitable in this decade, cities often are under great pressure to issue franchises prematurely. Since cable TV may equal the automobile and the telephone as a powerful social force, individuals and interest groups in the community should have a voice in decisionmaking.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

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