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Regional wireline operator and incumbent local exchange carrier ("ILEC") CenturyLink Inc. (CTL - Free Report) is opting for managed WiFi services to cater to the demands of small and mid-sized business (SMB) and to lure more customers in this segment from cable TV operators and Competitive local exchange carriers ("CLEC").

Based on Meraki technology of Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO - Free Report) , the managed WiFi platform will offer real-time monitoring and analytics in order to enable enterprises to better connect with customers. Business customers will be able to view their networks through Meraki’s dashboard. They can also prioritize and throttle priority and nonpriority applications. Moreover, enterprises can use client- and location-based analytics to better serve their client who are connected to the network. Cisco Systems currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Over the last three years, CenturyLink has been going all out to establish itself as a global leader in cloud infrastructure and hosted IT solutions arena designed for enterprise customers. Further, the company’s strong network capabilities, integrated hosting and network solutions are likely to help it grow in the cloud business. Notably, the company considers its managed and cloud services as a key differentiator from other players in the market, which should boost its top line.

Recently, CenturyLink acquired cloud app management specialist, ElasticBox, in a transaction that will allow its customers to manage applications across 12 different cloud providers including the likes of Amazon.com Inc.’s (AMZN - Free Report) Amazon Web Services, International Business Machines Corp.’s (IBM - Free Report) IBM Softlayer, Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT - Free Report) Azure and Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOGL - Free Report) Compute Engine.

CenturyLink had previously accepted $3 billion in FCC Connect America Fund II (CAFII) subsidy over a period of six years to provide rural broadband service to 1.2 million households and businesses in 33 states. The company will provide high-speed Internet services of at least 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload facility. Management aims to cover 40% of total targeted customers by the end of 2017 and achieve 100% coverage by end 2020.

Price Performance of CenturyLink

CenturyLink’s shares have declined a whopping 21.02%, underperforming the industry’s gain of 0.85% over the past 90 days. The stock currently has a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).

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