The essential idea behind cable is to bring cost-effective television and services to a dense subscriber base while maintaining high-quality content. Traditionally, this content was limited simply to television channels ranging from "life-line" (local weather/news/information channels) to premium-channel content.
In recent years, additional services have been added to the mix, including voice, data, and digital television options. Over the next few years, all of the services offered by cable providers will leverage the IP network as a platform for integrated services. IP-based services will carry all data, voice, and video content to the subscriber premises. Set-top boxes currently using RF signal will be IP attached and capable of delivering content to any number of access devices, including IP phones, mobile phones, and more.
The more advanced capabilities offered by high-speed network access brought about a practice of placing equipment, including telephone switches and cable modem termination systems (CMTS), in a common facility so that services could be leveraged in a variety of manners. The resulting broadband Internet access offering presents corporations with cost-effective connectivity for teleworkers who connect back to a central site either through a IPsec VPN or remote-access VPN. Additionally, interactive television content and Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) voice access for voice and fax calls allow cable providers to offer VoIP services.
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