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7 Stocks to Gain From Coronavirus-Induced Internet Demand

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With the COVID-19 outbreak causing global disruptions in economic, educational, medical, and civic welfare, Internet access has become critical not only to keep the public informed but also to let people work from home, attend school remotely and keep in touch despite social distancing.

On Mar 13, more than 65 broadband and wireless companies signed the “Keep Americans Connected Pledge” launched by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that implored major internet providers across the United States to ensure that Americans have access to the internet.

Internet service providers AT&T (T - Free Report) , Comcast (CMCSA - Free Report) , Cox, Verizon (VZ - Free Report) , CenturyLink, Frontier, Mediacom, Charter Communication’s (CHTR - Free Report) Spectrum and many more have pledged to not cut off service offered to residential and business customers who cannot pay their bills or penalize them with late fees because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Additionally, the list includes companies such as Sprint, US Cellular, T-Mobile (TMUS - Free Report) and TrakFone, as well as Google Fiber, and Pioneer among others.

Atlantic Broadband, Cincinnati Bell, Sonic, Wave Broadband and Altice, which includes Suddenlink and Optimum, have also pledged to keep Americans connected.

Internet Service Providers’ Prospects

The need for quarantine and travel barriers due to COVID-19-driven panic has created exponential growth opportunities for Internet service providers across the world.

Notably, in the United States, Internet traffic has increased 10 -20% since the first week of February, when the first COVID-19 cases were reported in Seattle, according to Cloudflare report.

Per FCC's Broadband Deployment 2019 report stated that 21.3 million Americans, or 6.5% of the population, lack access to broadband Internet, including wired and fixed wireless connections. Moreover, the gap is the biggest in rural and tribal areas — more than 26% of residents in rural areas and 32% in Tribal lands lack access.

However, a BroadbandNow report from February 2020 suggests that 42 million Americans lack access to broadband.

Offers of unlimited data usage, waiver of fines for late payment for Internet services and cheaper subscription plans to facilitate stay-at-home are expected to boost new user additions for service providers.

Internet Providers’ Initiatives to Counter Coronavirus Crisis

Let’s delve deeper to find out about the different initiatives taken by Internet providers to counter the COVID-19-led situation.

Dish Network (DISH - Free Report) will provide its entire portfolio of 600 Mhz spectrum to T-Mobile at no cost for the next 60 days. Dish currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

DISH Network Corporation Price and EPS Surprise

Moreover, T-Mobile will now offer limitless data for all mobile plans for the subsequent 60 days. It includes Metro as well as T-Mobile users. The Zacks Rank #3 company will offer an extra 20 GB for the mobile hotspot service for the same period.

T-Mobile US, Inc. Price and EPS Surprise

Sprint also announced that it will provide limitless data for the next 60 days from Mar 19. Similar to T-Mobile, the company will offer 20 GB free data for mobile hotspots for the next 60 days.  

Meanwhile, AT&T is the first major ISP to confirm suspension of all broadband usage caps and also provide a waiver on Internet data overage to customers with limited services.

All AT&T consumer home Internet wireline customers, as well as Fixed Wireless Internet, can use unlimited Internet data. Additionally, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company will continue to offer Internet access to qualifying limited income households at $10 a month through the Access from AT&T program.

AT&T Inc. Price and EPS Surprise

AT&T Inc. Price and EPS Surprise

AT&T Inc. price-eps-surprise | AT&T Inc. Quote

Cable giant Comcast is offering free broadband to low-income households. This Zacks Rank #3 company will also be boosting internet speeds.

Beginning Mar 16, low-income families that live in an area with access to Comcast’s services can sign up as new customers to receive 60 free days under the company’s Internet Essentials Program. This service usually comes with a price tag of $9.95 per month.

Moreover, the increased speeds will only apply to those with the Internet Essentials service. The service currently offers 15 Mbps for download and 2 Mbps for upload, but starting Monday, the speeds will jump to 25 Mbps and 3 Mbps, respectively.

Comcast Corporation Price and EPS Surprise

Comcast Corporation Price and EPS Surprise

Comcast Corporation price-eps-surprise | Comcast Corporation Quote

Verizon announced that for the next 60 days, it will waive late fees that residential or small business customers incur and will not terminate service because of their inability to pay bills due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

In addition, the Zacks Rank #3 announced that it is increasing its capital investment guidance range from $17 - $18 billion to $17.5 - $18.5 billion for 2020. This will accelerate Verizon's transition to 5G and help support the economy.

Verizon Communications Inc. Price and EPS Surprise

Verizon Communications Inc. Price and EPS Surprise

Verizon Communications Inc. price-eps-surprise | Verizon Communications Inc. Quote

Charter Communications announced it will offer free access to broadband and WiFi services to households with students who do not have the services.

The Zacks Rank #3 company announced that free broadband and WiFi access will be available for 60 days to households with students from Kindergarten to college who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription at any service level up to 100 Mbps.

Charter Communications, Inc. Price and EPS Surprise

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