Parents knows it's not uncommon for schools to supply their students with tablets and laptops and assign e-books for homework. Class syllabuses are increasingly built around these technologies, helping to usher in internet-based programs as the next wave in education.
On June 6th President Obama visited Mooresville Middle School in North Carolina to support this trend. The Commander in Chief said the middle school, which boasts a higher student performance after upgrading their technology and providing a computer for each student, should see its internet-based model replicated across the nation.
He acknowledged faster internet connections will be an essential compliment to the program. After all, one student watching an instructional video is okay, but when several classrooms stream a live event the school's network may struggle to deliver.
According to the New York Times, "Mr. Obama called on the Federal Communications Commission to expand an existing program to provide discounted high-speed Internet service to schools and libraries, even if it meant increasing the fees that for years had been added to consumers’ phone bills. He said the initiative could lead to better technology at 99 percent of schools in five years."
Schools and libraries that qualify for the Schools and Libraries program, or E-rate, receive discounts of 20 to 90% on services and equipment, depending on the household income levels of students and whether the school is in an urban or rural area.
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According to the Times, the program typically passes the cost onto consumers, adding a few dollars onto the average home and mobile phone plan. Putting in high speed internet to improve and expand the school program across the nation will require more. It's estimated telephone customers will pay an extra $5 a year, or 40 cents more per month.
Using tax payer money to fund wireless networks throughout schools seems like a winning situation for both school and for cable companies. Schools are able to give their students a modern education while cable companies are able to charge higher fees, expand their network, and increase dependency for their product.
Investors should also see the opportunity in this ambitious business. With this in mind we pulled together a list of internet providers in the United States trading on the US exchanges. Do you think these cable companies are poised to benefit from internet-based education? Use this list of cable stocks as a starting point for your own analysis.
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1. Charter Communications Inc. (CHTR, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Provides cable services to residential and commercial customers in the United States. Market cap at $11.4B, most recent closing price at $112.63.
2. Comcast Corporation (CMCSA, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Provides entertainment, information, and communications products and services in the United States and internationally. Market cap at $105.97B, most recent closing price at $40.24.
4. Dish Network Corp. (DISH, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Provides direct broadcast satellite (DBS) subscription television services in the United States. Market cap at $17.54B, most recent closing price at $38.58.
7. Liberty Global Inc. (LBTYA, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Provides video, broadband Internet, and telephony services primarily in Europe, Chile, and Australia. Market cap at $18.85B, most recent closing price at $73.41.
8. Shaw Communications, Inc. (SJR, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Provides broadband cable television, Internet, digital phone, telecommunications, and satellite direct-to-home (DTH) services primarily in Canada and the United States. Market cap at $9.98B, most recent closing price at $22.19.
9. AT&T, Inc. (T, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Provides telecommunication services to consumers, businesses, and other service providers worldwide. Market cap at $192.66B, most recent closing price at $35.81.
(List compiled by Rebecca Lipman)