Seeding Docsis 3.0
Part of that initial surge can be attributed to the fact that Sunflower decided to offer automatic upgrades to its existing base of high-end tier customers, rather than come out with a faster service that also carried a more expensive monthly subscription price.
"All they have to do is pick up a new [Docsis 3.0] modem," said Sunflower Broadband COO Patrick Knorr, in a brief conversation last week with Cable Digital News.
Sunflower charges $5 for modem rentals, regardless of whether the customer requires a Docsis 2.0, or a new 3.0 model. [Ed. note: Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) is the D3 modem supplier of record at Sunflower.]
Sunflower has two tiers that require the new modem: a "Gold" 50-Mbit/s (downstream) package that's subject to a monthly data cap of 120 gigabytes before any additional consumption-related fees factor in; and "Palladium," a "video-optimized" tier that isn't subject to any monthly consumption limits. (See Sunflower Uncaps D3 Video Tier .)
Knorr also shed some more light on details and the reasoning behind that video broadband tier. Sunflower advertises the speeds of that offering as "variable," but Knorr says the upper limit of the Palladium tier's downstream is 21 Mbit/s, though it's subject to some traffic "management" techniques Sunflower uses.
"We thought the best solution was to provide [Internet] video users with a service that still has limits, but not incremental fees associated with it," Knorr says. "If you want the highest speed [50 Mbit/s], you will still have to be subject to our bandwidth caps, because, at that [level], the ability to bog down the network is pretty apparent."
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News