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Verizon Gets High Marks in LR Poll

Is spending nearly one fifth of your market cap rolling out a 21st century fiber network a smart investment? Our readers think so, according to the responses to the latest Light Reading poll: Rate the Telcos.

In response to our North American Carrier Scorecard, Light Reading conducted a poll to see what letter grade our readers would give each carrier for the first quarter of 2007. About 100 readers responded and a convincing 60 percent gave Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) an A.

Another notable result from the poll was the disagreement shown with our high marks for Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q). About 82 percent of the respondents gave a mark between C and F -- 28 percent failed the carrier. As for AT&T, it seems that most people are taking a wait-and-see approach; most respondents gave it a B or C.

If our poll is to be believed, readers seem more concerned with long-term technical bets than they do short-term financial improvements. Qwest has reported excellent quarterly growth with its revenues and profits lately, but perhaps readers wonder how much longer it can survive just by cutting costs and without a firm plan for a major access network upgrade.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), on the other hand, is spending a lot of money and turned out a financial quarter for the ages thanks to its continued strategy of bulking up through acquisitions. But now that the big M&A deals are likely over, can it continue to demonstrate strong growth? Readers may be wondering if the trouble with U-Verse is temporary.

What they seem convinced of, according to the poll results, is that Verizon is on the right track financially and otherwise. The carrier has turned in solid financial and subscriber data growth, showing its fiber-to-the-home network and FiOS service, though expensive, is catching on.

— Raymond McConville, Reporter, Light Reading

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