Sunflower Broadband’s “Great Digital Set-top Box Giveaway” has left it asking the FCC for an emergency extension to continue deploying set-top boxes that don’t have CableCARDs for a little while longer. The FCC denied Sunflower’s request for a waiver for the July 1 set-top integration ban, but did give it and a few other operators until Sept 1 to stop deploying boxes with integrated security. To deplete its inventory of integrated Motorola DCT-700s, Sunflower launched a promo in late July offering customers free digital boxes through Aug 31 (Cfax, 8/14). If a box was deployed by Sept 1, it could be redeployed when a sub returned it because they were disconnecting, upgrading, etc. The promo was “more successful than anticipated,” plus the operator saw an unprecedented digital take-rate among Univ of KS students in Aug. Sunflower told the FCC that it expected to deploy all the DCT-700s by Sept 1 but thought enough subs would return their boxes that it wouldn’t need to order CableCARD boxes in the near-term. It thought wrong. On “extremely short notice,” Sunflower said it placed an order for Pace’s Butler CableCARD compliant box. A purchase order dated Aug 24 shows Sunflower ordering 1152 Pace boxes at $149 each, but Sunflower said Pace won’t be able to deliver them until between late Oct and late Dec. It needs to order about 1K-2K more DCT-700s in the interim to meet estimated demand—otherwise, it faces being short about 500 boxes a month until the Pace boxes come in. Sunflower wants an emergency extension of the Sept 1 deferral until its compliant set-tops arrive. “Absent the deferral, Sunflower will be forced to cease deploying its entry-level, all-digital simulcast services to new or upgrading subscribers,” Sunflower wrote in its filing to the FCC. “Such a result is highly undesirable and directly contrary to the Commission’s mandate to increase the availability of digital services to all Americans.”

The Daily


Sievert to Give CES Keynote

T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert will deliver a keynote address during CES 2022 . His keynote, the first to be announced

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