The IT Law Wiki


A cable network is a

communications system[] using coaxial cable for information delivery. Cable networks began as a medium for television programming delivery, though many cable companies are beginning to offer high-speed data services (e.g. Internet) and telephony over their networks.[1]


"[C]able networks were designed in a 'tree and branch' configuration with a single source transmitting video programming signals to a dispersion of customers. On a cable system, video signals transmitted by satellites and broadcast television towers are received at a cable company facility known as a headend. These video signals are then packaged together and sent simultaneously from the headend over coaxial cables to subscribers' premises. Unlike the telephone network, the cable network does not provide a dedicated line from the headend to each customer's premises. Rather, the tree and branch structure provides a shared medium among subscribers in which a given amount of capacity is available to a group of subscribers. In the context of Internet use, if certain subscribers use very large amounts of bandwidth during an Internet session, less bandwidth will be available to other subscribers at that time. This shared usage requires the cable operator to expend resources managing the capacity of its network."[2]}}


  1. Information Technologies Group Center for International Development at Harvard University, Glossary (full-text).
  2. Telecommunications: Technological and Regulatory Factors Affecting Consumer Choice of Internet Providers, at 16.