Television, alone, simply doesn't meet the market demand anymore. Bruce Springsteen's song, "57 Channels (And Nothin' On)" says it well. While in need of an update to a number of channels placed well into triple-digits, it may well ring true for the foreseeable future. The Internet has changed the definition of what is considered entertainment.
Cable provider infrastructure has evolved somewhat from pure coaxial networks to HFC. The driving force behind this evolution to HFC is easily understandable. Simply put, the signal from the antenna degrades as it travels across the copper medium. This can be corrected to some degree by amplifiers in the path, roughly every 2000 feet. This ensures that the signal is delivered to the subscriber with adequate power to provide all of the channels within the spectrum for analog television, digital television, and cable modem services (the range of 50 to 860 MHz).
In a 20-mile plant, roughly 52 amplifiers would be required to maintain the necessary signal strength to serve all subscribers along the line. Unfortunately, as the signal degrades, it picks up noise or distortion, and that noise or distortion is amplified along with the signal. Eventually, what's left is an unusable mass of wasted voltage. The result is a disruption in service and unhappy customers.
To mitigate the risk of customer satisfaction issues, the network must implement infrastructure necessary to avoid the signal degradation and loss. Luckily, a suitable technological solution is available in the form of fiber optics.
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