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Friday, November 10, 2006

Level 3 Communications Seems to Have Capacity (LVLT)

By William Trent, CFA of Stock Market Beat

A comment on one of our recent articles took issue with our focus on Corning’s (GLW) LCD glass business, saying “It’s telcom division is just at break even now. When the youtube driven video over ip takes over, demand for fiber to the home will explode.” One reason we disagree is this recent press release from Level 3 Communications (LVLT):

Level 3 Communications’ Content Markets Group today announced a multi-year agreement with Photobucket to support the company’s growing online personal media sharing service. Under the terms of the agreement, Level 3 will provide Photobucket with network solutions including Level 3® High Speed IP service via Multiple 10 gigabits per second (10GigE) ports.”With over 28 million global users and adding 80,000 new users per day, Photobucket needs a robust, reliable and highly scalable network provider,” said Darren Crystal, chief technical officer and co-founder of Photobucket. “Photobucket has worked with Level 3 since our company’s founding, and we are confident that they will continue to meet our needs.”
“Photobucket, an online personal media site that enables users to manage and share their digital lives, delivers billions of images and videos across nearly 250,000 different websites every day. An additional 7 million personal images and videos are uploaded to daily. This relationship gives Photobucket direct access to Level 3’s Tier 1 global network,” continued Crystal.

The fact that Level 3 considers this newsworthy tells us that there is still plenty of fiber capacity out there from the bubble days.

As Om Malik notes:
It is all spin and a blatant attempt to get a little Web 2.0 pixie dust. In fact, Level 3 is spending liberally to get it. They are sponsoring the Web 2.0 conference, and paying top dollars for it. I wonder why they are not one of sponsors (or even an exhibitors at) ISPCon, a conference that is closer to their core business.

Until that YouTube demand starts eating up the old capacity, demand for new capacity is likely to remain muted. The author may hold a position in the securities discussed.

The author's current holdings are as follows: Long: Intuit (INTU) put options; Nasdaq 100 (QQQQ) put options; Bookham (BKHM; Ballard Power (BLDP); Syntax Brillian (BRLC); CMGI (CMGI); Genentech (DNA); Ion Media Networks (ION); Lion's Gate (LGF); Three Five Systems (TFS); Adobe Systems (ADBE) call options; Ceradyne (CRDN); IShares Japan (EWJ); StreetTracks Gold (GLD); Starbucks (SBUX); U.S. Oil Fund (USO); Plantronics (PLT) call options; Short: Lion's Gate (LGF) call options; Dell (DELL) put options; Ceradyne (CRDN) call options; Plantronics (PLT) put options

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