A number of libraries have entertained the idea of using local cable TV systems for data communication. Most of these systems use coaxial cable or fiber optics to transmit their signals. The newer ones have a considerable amount of unused capacity. One of the major obstacles to using these cable systems for local data communication is that most major metropolitan areas have several systems. The Central Telephone and Utilities Company of Chicago has recently announced a plan to interconnect all Chicago-area cable TV systems through a microwave-radio-linked communications network that will include two-way transmission capability. The system will also incorporate earth station facilities to send and receive communications by satellite.
The linking of several systems in Chicago may lead to similar linkages in other parts of the country. Progress will be slow, however, because there are many economic and political obstacles to the installation of technologies which seek to link competing systems.