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Describes the present state of cable technology, technical approaches to meeting the new FCC requirements for major market cable systems, and the technology for new cable services. Since technical feasibility is linked with costs, the report also discusses cost considerations in building a new cable system or expanding an extant one. The report identifies several problem areas confronting the cable industry and local decisionmakers, including expanded channel capacity, two-way communications, internal switching and external interconnection, and the difficulty of writing unambiguous, enforceable local technical standards. These involve complex tradeoffs among technical approaches, economic factors, and cable-system capabilities. The report discusses policy alternatives, but is not a step-by-step guide to designing an "optimal" system. It is written at an introductory level for readers without a technical background.

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.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.