How to Profit From the U.S. Connectivity Boom

The U.S. budget offers investment ideas, if you know where to look.

Jul 15, 2014 at 4:28PM

With an expected fiscal 2015 budget of $3.9 trillion  there is a lot of money to be spent in the United States. One way to profit from this is to find companies or products that the U.S. budget focuses on.

There are couple ways to use the budget for investment ideas. One way is explicit. For instance, the Department of Defense includes plenty of references to equipment that is made by publicly owned companies. Another way is to look for underlying socioeconomic trends. One trend I found was the topic of connectivity.

The budget references connectivity in rural areas on pg. 47 and throughout schools on pg. 69. The shift is ingrained to a point that the U.S. government recognizes it and is enacting policies to aid its advance. There is a nationwide movement to be connected at all times at faster speeds requiring more bandwidth. What the consumer demands the consumer will get, but what companies will gain from this demand? 

The companies
Corning
(NYSE:GLW), a glass manufacturing company most famous for "Gorilla Glass," also produces some of the world's best connectivity solutions through metal cables, optical fibers, and wireless technologies. The company's products include an optical USB 3.0 cable that is capable of transporting 5 GB of data per second over a 30-meter distance  and long-haul optical fibers that will be able to withstand the world's ever increasing demand for bandwidth  . The company is a leading developer of wireless technologies, and most recently signed deals to provide wireless Internet access and cellular network access to 50 major sports venues. Providing 100,000 people with wireless Internet and cellphone service in a small space all at the same time is a testament to how well its systems work  . 

Financially, Corning is doing just fine. The company's annual dividend yield is 1.8% at $0.40 a share and has been growing over the last five years. And its revenue has grown by nearly $1.2 billion from 2010 to 2013  . However, its net income has decreased over the same period. At first glance it seems to be attributed to cost of sales and other administrative functions, and it's  worth looking into further. Their optical communications segment grew sales by 9.2% or $196 million, totaling $2.326 billion in optical communications sales. That segment brings in nearly one-third of overall sales . To back up the company's solid revenue growth and increasing dividend it has a dedicated top five management team with a combined 160 years of service and counting with Corning.

The actual use of fiber optics is in its infancy with as few as 25% of the U.S. being covered with fiber optic access . But several companies are attempting to increase that percentage. One such company is Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL). While Google is not generally seen as an Internet service provider, it always looks for ways to grow and introduce innovative technologies.

Google has been and is continuing to test out its Google Fiber service. Currently Google Fiber is set up in three cities: Kansas City, Austin, Texas, and Provo, Utah. The service gives users access to faster and higher quality Internet and TV service. Google also provides its customers with a 2 terabyte DVR, a specialized app to control your TV, on-demand shows and movies, 1 terabyte of cloud storage, improved Wi-Fi throughout your residence, and super fast download speeds up to 1GB per second.

The company also began discussions with 34 cities in nine metro areas across the U.S., aiming to provide coverage to nearly 9.3 million more people  . Financially, Google is a gold standard throughout the market, doubling revenue from fiscal 2010 to 2013 while keeping its profit margin above 20% and carrying a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.27. The company seldom needs to finance business activities with debt. The downside is the company does not pay a dividend to its shareholders even though it carries a large amount of cash on its books  

Google is an excellent company looking for other industries to excel and grow in. If fiber optics continue to grow, then Google may have found another winner in its vertical takeover of the tech world. Blair Levin, author of the "National Broadband Plan," said "Google Fiber has been the biggest driver of the fiber-to-the home movement." While little financial information has been released about Google Fiber, it plans to be profitable by getting cities to allow Google Fiber to be integrated into their city planning, using existing infrastructure. 

Foolish bottom line
By reading the U.S. budget, we were able to identify a growing hunger for bandwidth. I would keep an eye out for any company in the tech world that is trying to make a shift from old copper networking to new faster fiber optic networking. What the consumer demands the consumer will get. And fiber optics seems to be the only viable solution to faster network speeds.

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Grant Perry owns shares of Corning. The Motley Fool recommends Corning and Google (C shares). The Motley Fool owns shares of Corning and Google (C shares). Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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