A communication system (10) supports the provision of a plurality of dedicated communication resources (50–64), such as copper drops, RF links and optical fibers, to dedicated home-gateway devices (44–48) or distribution points (124). The communication resources (50–64) support broadband interconnection (104) between the dedicated home-gateway devices (44–48) or distribution points (124) and an access multiplexor (30) in a network (12). Each gateway device (44–48) or distribution point (124) generally includes a local RF transceiver (84) and associated control logic (80–82) that allows local communication (86) between gateway devices (44–48) and hence statistically multiplexed access (60–64, 89) to multiple communication resources, thereby providing increased bandwidth in uplink and/or downlink directions. With the control logic (80) operable to provide a routing and prioritisation/arbitration function, each gateway (44–48) is able to selectively engage use of supplemental, non-reserved communication resources usually associated with a dedicated ono-to-one connection between the access network (12) and at least one secondary gateway. Physical layer access to information routed via a secondary gateway within a virtual neighborhood network (90–92) comprising several gateways is restricted through an end-to-end encryption algorithm between an originating gateway and, at least, the access multilpexor (30).