Infrastructure

4 Companies Helping Cable Provide Faster Broadband Service

Americans love their programming and content, and the cable companies are there to deliver. Another thing consumers love is fast data and Internet service, and that is one battle the cable companies are trying not to lose to the major carriers. In an age when speed is everything, the cable companies are in a battle to upgrade service and delivery to the consumer. The question is can they win the battle?

A new research report from the communications equipment analysts at UBS says that while the cable companies are having to fight the fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) battle against the carriers, they are making headway with the D3.1 roll-out. D3.1 promises to offer gigabit speeds with a theoretical maximum speeds of 10 gigabits downstream and 1 gigabit plus upstream. Providing that speed with cloud access for customers could help turn the tide.

Here are four stocks that are crucial to helping the cable industry battle the carriers for broadband supremacy.

Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN), many analysts including the UBS team believe, could be the top beneficiary of an increase in wireless spending. Ciena management is optimistic about its prospects in the United States and in markets such as Brazil and India, where it has landed Tier 1 design wins. Recently, it also won a contract from Cablevision Argentina, which is a leading cable TV and Internet services provider in Argentina, to enhance its broadband network countrywide. The company is rapidly reducing its losses, and the earnings growth outlook for the next five years is also quite promising, despite a poor earnings performance last quarter.

According to Yahoo! Finance, investors can expect Ciena’s earnings to improve at an annual rate of 16.7% for the next five years. The UBS price target for the stock is $27. The consensus estimate stands lower at $26.35. Ciena closed Friday at $17.21 a share.

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Corning Inc. (NYSE: GLW) may be poised for a big second half of the year as bandwidth and latency needs of the Internet are pressing the limits of what is currently available. In addition big demand for the company’s Gorilla Glass, which Apple uses, is up as much as 30% year-over year as new smartphones hit the market. While the company is well known for being a leading manufacturer of glass substrates for LCDs in consumer electronics, it generates close to 30% of its revenue from its Optical Communication segment. In 2013, the Optical Communication division revenue grew 9.2% to reach $2.3 billion.

Coring investors are paid a 2% dividend. The stock is rated Neutral at UBS. The consensus price target is $22.03, and Corning closed Friday at $19.87.

JDS Uniphase Corp. (NASDAQ: JDSU) was a pioneer of the optical revolution that began in the 1990s, and it recently announced a plan to split into two separate companies. One will be an optical and laser company, while the second will be a network and service enablement company. JDS performed well ahead of expectations in its fiscal second quarter and issued a strong outlook for the balance of 2014. Management has always been confident about the prospects of the business as the need for bandwidth across the world increases. As a result, the company is seeing strong demand in the Americas for its 100G products and LTE solutions.

The UBS price target for JDS Uniphase is $15, and the consensus price target is posted at $15.11. The stock closed Friday at $12.91 a share.

TE Connectivity Ltd. (NYSE: TEL) wraps up the top stocks to buy at UBS. The company designs and manufactures products at the heart of electronic connections for the world’s leading industries including automotive, energy and industrial, broadband communications, consumer devices, health care, and aerospace and defense. TE has a long-standing commitment to innovation and engineering excellence that helps its customers solve the need for more energy efficiency, always-on communications and ever-increasing productivity demands.

Investors are paid a 1.9% dividend. The UBS price target is $68, and the consensus target is $68.91. Shares closed Friday trading at $58.80.

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The battle with the carriers for broadband speed and cloud delivery is a crucial one for the cable companies. They have to hold and keep customers from leaving, and broadband speed is a huge customer priority. Investors looking to buy technology names in a fast-growing arena may do well looking at these stocks.