Cable Broadband: How It Works

By  Malcolm Taylor

Cable networks were originally established as unidirectional networks to deliver television and radio stations into the customers' home. Cable provided a high quality alternative to the aerial radio and television broadcasting that was often subject to interference. The old cable networks were fully coaxial cable based.

In mainland Europe, the earliest deployments started in the 1930s. Until the 1990s, there were thousands of small networks all over Europe but most of these are now consolidated into larger cable operators.

Installing fibre-optic cables underground

By Neil Bradley, Fibre Options

Analysis shows that between 60% and 80% of the capital costs of a fibre project are due to civil work, ducts and cables. In other words, the cost of digging holes and filling them in again.

There are ways of getting round these costs, such as wireless transmission, overhead poles, and so on, but in the main if a future-proof network is to be employed then only fibre will do the right job.


In this section, we define basic broadband terminology, and describe the different technology options for building next-generation local access networks, along with the strengths and weaknesses of the different aproaches.  We also highlight some of the technical issues around network installation and delivery of services to the end user.

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