The general manager of Sunflower Broadband wonders why more small systems aren’t doing advanced VOD ads.

Sunflower has been using SeaChange’s AdPulse product with great success said Rod Kutemeier, Sunflower’s GM. AdPulse can dynamically insert local ads into VOD programming.

Kutemeier said the results have been impressive. Advertisers love being able to easily target their ads, and they also like the detailed measurement results they receive. And, he said CPMs have gone “through the roof.”

“I’ve really scratched my head ever since we’ve launched, why others have not gone for it,” said Kutemeier. “It’s been an interesting topic as far as having this technology and using it, but seeing the rest of the industry sit back and wait.”

Comcast is actually working with BlackArrow to trial VOD ads in its Jacksonville system. (For more, click here.)

Now, Sunflower is taking the next step, moving beyond just local avails. It is testing its AdPulse system in partnership with the Comcast Media Center to insert national ads from HealthiNation on its national content. (For more, click here.)

But Sunflower tends to be on the leading edge for small operators.

“We definitely put ourselves out there quite a bit,” said Kutemeier. “The key is having a group of people so willing to use untested technology or work with outside engineers.”

DOCSIS 3.0 and FTTH

The approximately 30,000-sub system is in the process of migrating to DOCSIS 3.0 and offering a top speed tier of 50 Mbps downstream, 1 Mbps upstream.

Sunflower launched DOCSIS 3.0 in August 2009 in Lawrence and Eudora, Kansas. As part of a larger upgrade, it’s also doing a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) build-out to rural areas.

Kutemeier said Lawrence has a rather affluent, tech-savvy population because it’s the home of the University of Kansas. There have been a lot of expensive houses built on large lots in the hilly environs around the city. And of course these homeowners want high-speed Internet.

“FTTH is much less expensive than traditional hybrid fiber coax to serve rural,” said Kutemeier. Sunflower has only one headend but can spread fiber out without the need for periodic amplifiers and power sources.

The DOCSIS 3.0 migration is slated for completion by April 2010, but more than 3,000 subscribers are already receiving the new high-speed Internet. The biggest jump in subs is expected in the fall when students connect for the school year.

Sunflower is using ARRIS’ Touchstone WBM 750 wideband modems for its DOCSIS 3.0 service.

Although the fastest upstream speed is only 1 Mbps, Kutemeier said once the DOCSIS 3.0 migration was complete, they will be able to increase that speed.

As far as what’s next on the horizon for this pioneering, small system, he said the company is working with ARRIS on a rapid launch WiFi Mesh set-up solution. (For more news on that, click here.)

–Linda Hardesty

The Daily

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