With content and service expansion a constant in the cable industry, operators have had to adapt their plants for increasing capacity demands, while also containing costs for maximum return on investment. This has driven several cycles of evolving transport techniques to deliver content from centralized sources to distributed subscriber bases.
IP technologies have extended new promise and seen initial implementations that achieve superior economics and functionality for data and voice, and increasingly video content. The openness and flexibility of IP enables rapid advances and cable operators can now contemplate the economic utilization of fiber distribution at both regional and national levels. There are several courses to consider for more widespread utilization of IP technologies for the distribution of core cable programming, and this paper considers their relative advantages and challenges, while recommending commitment to a highly flexible infrastructure able to adapt to emerging opportunities.