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Cable Story: Sunrise Communications (Onaway, MI)

Sunrise Communications operates out of Onaway, a small town in rural northern Michigan. We strive to provide quality service via our three rural systems. Although none of the areas Sunrise serves has a "changing traffic light," we manage to offer both cable TV and high-speed internet at an affordable price over our rebuilt 330 Mhz systems. In the future, we hope to rebuild three other systems in the area.

As a small operator, we face the same issues that many ACA members face. We face unrealistic
programming costs, and since we offer only 40 channels, tying and bundling really limits what we can offer our customers.

Our small size would make it difficult to handle a dual carriage obligation. I don't know how an operator in our situation affords the headend equipment and other costs. Pole attachment fees are another huge issue for us. This issue is so severe that it could seriously damage Sunrise's ability to provide quality services.

Despite all of the problems, we knew it was important for us to try to provide both high-speed internet to our rural market and bring back cable TV at an affordable price. Our customers are pleased as punch that Sunrise exists. But, like many ACA members, we face the classic battle of higher rural costs versus lower rural density. Additionally, we suffer from limited pricing and scale versus our fixed plant and costs.

We are not cable and internet system giants. We have a small staff that works very hardto produce results for small-town Michigan. Sunrise's sole investor is unique in his commitment, but like every investor, he has limits, too. We're not looking for handouts - it's not in our vocabulary. We're just asking the government to not make it any harder than it already is.

Bob Goodenow
Sunrise Communications

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