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Cable television (CATV) is

[a] service through which subscribers pay to have local television stations and additional programs brought into their homes from an antenna via a coaxial cable.[1]


CATV originated in areas where good reception of direct broadcast television was not possible. Now CATV also consists of a cable distribution system to large metropolitan areas in competition with direct broadcasting. The abbreviation "CATV" originally meant "community antenna television." However, CATV is now usually understood to mean cable television.

Today's "cable industry is composed of approximately 7,791 cable systems that offer analog and digital video programming services, digital telephone service, and high-speed Internet access service."[2]


Regulation of the cable television industry has historically involved a mixture of policies, regulations, rules, and procedures administered by federal, state, and local entities. The Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984 deregulated the industry. However, in response to continually increasing cable rates, Congress enacted the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992 (commonly known as the "1992 Cable Act"), which required cable rate regulation in areas where effective competition does not exist.



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