A cable is a cavernous communications highway three hundred million radio-frequencies wide, as much larger than a telephone wire ;:; ..we are than an ant. The immense frequency capacity of the cable is indefinitely repeatable and infinitely flexible. In its atomic form of a single closed system, the concept and technology of cable is comparatively simple. But to envision it in its evolved aggregated form, the architectural complexity of cable communications presents an almost metaphysical challenge. The importance of cable? A mixture of fact and fancy, dreams and nightmares. The availability of tens to hundreds of video channels and thousands to millions of data channels on a mass basis can serve every imaginable communications purpose. Access by cable to computers, libraries, social services, commercial services, and education; community forums, soapbox studios, and cradle-to-grave records; Sears and Roebuck, The Whole Earth Catalogue, and pornography; wall screens, three-dimensional holography, burglar alarms, and surveillance; electronic mail, instantaneous credit verification, and the Internal Revenue Service on the home terminal. As cable communications matures, it will profoundly reorganize the pattern of our collective and individual lives.

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