Lots of companies stand to benefit from President-elect Barack Obama’s plan to create universal access to a broadband Internet. We’ve mentioned Kleiner Perkins-backed startup M2Z Networks, which wants the FCC to auction off spectrum for a free over-the-airwaves-Internet.
The Wall Street Journal breaks down potential winners among telcos, cable operators and hardware manufacturers.
Here’s the summary:
- How much these companies will benefit depends on how Obama’s administration and the FCC ends up defining broadband.
- If the FCC decides broadband means download speeds of around 5 megabits per second, than cable operators like Comcast (CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (TWX) win. Their cable modems are capable of reaching those speeds, while phone-based modems from the telephone companies are not.
- So the phone companies will want broadband defined as anything above 1.5 megabits per second. The Telecommunications Industry Association is also lobbying for a $25 billion grant.
- Sprint (S) subsidy Clearwire would also benefit from a slower broadband benchmark. Its WiMax download speeds range between 2 megabits and 4 megabits per second.
- Hardware-makers like Cisco (CSCO), Motorola (MOT) and Calix also would benefit from a stricter definition of broadband, because that would mean lots of Internet-service providers would have to upgrade old routers.