Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, it does. But it's not over yet.

JDS Uniphase (NASDAQ:JDSU) reported first-quarter sales down 8% sequentially and 24% year over year to $147 million. Not only was that at the low end of estimates, the company forecast a second-quarter sales decline to between $140 million and $150 million. This from a company that in early 2001 approached $1 billion in quarterly sales.

But here's the key: Revenues at the core communications products group seem to have stabilized.

Following an astonishing decline, sales of communications products over the past four quarters have come in at $75 million, $74 million, $76 million, and $74 million, respectively. It's the company's lower-margin thin film business that has taken the hit of late, falling from $94 million in the March quarter to $73 million this quarter.

The gist is that the company is really in pretty decent shape.

Not only doesn't the communications business appear to be getting any worse, a global realignment program has cut headcount from 29,000 in March 2001 to a mere 5,200 today, helping minimize cash burn. Cash flow breakeven is down from $250 million in July 2002 to $200 million in the current quarter.

In the meantime, JDS sits on $1.16 billion in cash. Clearly, the company is in a position to wait out the communications nuclear winter.

If there's a time to buy its shares, this might be it.

Back in July, Tom Jacobs felt it was too early to buy. On one hand, it might be safer to wait for the turnaround. On the other hand, investors waiting for Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) to turn around missed buying opportunities in the single digits.

It's going to happen. The question is when, with one very important caveat: Investors waiting for the answer could get stuck holding dead weight for a very, very long time.

Jeff Hwang can be reached at JHwang@fool.com.