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Viasat Joins FCC's Pledge to Protect Stakeholders Amid Crisis

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Zacks Equity Research
·4 min read
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Viasat, Inc. VSAT recently announced its commitment to participate in the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) ‘Keep Americans Connected’ initiative. The Carlsbad, CA-based company intends to work with its residential and small business customers to keep them connected, while minimizing potential health and economic impacts associated with the COVID-19 outbreak.

Last Friday, FCC chairman Ajit Pai launched the Keep Americans Connected Pledge, in which 69 broadband and telephone providers across the country agreed to take specific steps to help people stay connected for the next 60 days. The FCC is essentially helping Americans to work from home, learn at home and connect remotely to health care professionals during this hour of crisis.

Yesterday, chairman Pai said that 116 more broadband and telephone service providers have taken part in this initiative. As a result, 185 providers have now agreed to take measures to promote connectivity for Americans during the coronavirus pandemic. Viasat, being one of them, has vowed not to terminate service to any residential or small business customers on account of their inability to pay bills. The company has decided to waive late fees that any customer incurs due to economic circumstances. Lastly, it plans to open Wi-Fi hotspots, in conjunction with partners, to anyone who needs them.

Viasat is committed to the priority of its employees’ safety, as well as ensuring the continuous delivery of products and services to customers and partners. The company also aims to provide emergency services for the medical professionals responding to the crisis. It is providing Internet connectivity to all the customers who need to stay connected, at home or at work.

In the last reported quarter, the company’s total revenues increased 6% year over year to $588.2 million from $554.7 million. This was driven by strong revenue growth in both Satellite Services and Government Systems segment backed by sustained backlog and new contract awards. While product revenues totaled $303.1 million, up 0.4% year over year, service revenues grew 12.8% to $285.1 million.

Beginning in 2021, Viasat intends to launch a new, global ViaSat-3 constellation of high-capacity communications satellites that will improve responsiveness of defense mission threats. Viasat is ramping up investments in the development of its revolutionary ViaSat-3 broadband communications platform, which will boast nearly 10 times the bandwidth capacity of ViaSat-2. These satellites will be capable of covering one-third of the world, including all Americas. The second ViaSat-3 will cover the Europe, the Middle East and Africa region.

The ViaSat-3 platform will help to form a global broadband network with sufficient network capacity to allow better consumer choices with an affordable, high-quality, high-speed Internet and video streaming service. In a nutshell, Viasat has garnered enough economics of scale and scope to serve vast emerging markets in South America, Africa, the Middle East and Western Asia. Hence, momentous market traction of ViaSat-1 and ViaSat-2 satellites, coupled with strategically planned ViaSat 3 satellites, is expected to provide Viasat with a solid competitive edge over peers, thereby bolstering growth in the long run.

Viasat topped earnings estimates in the trailing four quarters, the beat being 402%, on average. The stock has lost 51.7% compared with 25.8% decline recorded by the industry in the past six months.

Viasat currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Other top-ranked stocks in the industry include PCTEL, Inc. PCTI, Motorola Solutions, Inc. MSI and Qualcomm Incorporated QCOM, each carrying a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

PCTEL surpassed earnings estimates in the trailing four quarters, the beat being 108.9%, on average.

Motorola topped earnings estimates in the trailing four quarters, the surprise being 6.6%, on average.

Qualcomm surpassed earnings estimates in the trailing four quarters, the beat being 10%, on average.

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