) -- The tech sector has a fat pile of stimulus money coming its way.
is allocating $7.2 billion in stimulus money to boost U.S. broadband infrastructure, particularly in remote areas. The national broadband plan, which is being developed by the FCC, will be presented to Congress in February 2010, although there is already plenty of chatter about who the big winners will be.
Five tech companies --
-- are most likely to snag a ticket for this particular federal stimulus gravy train. The stimulation probably will start early next year as planning efforts turn to equipment orders.
No. 1: Corning
The company, considered by some to be the dominant fiber optic player, has a shot at collecting the biggest windfall from this plan to wire the boonies, and its potential to do so has already caught some speculators' attention. The Corning, N.Y.-based tech shop makes fiber optic cable for use in the network backbone and optical connection boxes for the so-called last mile of the network.
Corning stands to add $80 million a year in new revenue from the broadband stimulus plan, according to estimates by JP Morgan analysts. That would mean $240 million for Corning over the three-year plan, JP Morgan predicts.
No. 2: ADCT
Formerly known as ADC Telecom, the networking gearmaker specializes in local telco equipment used as the on and off ramp to the national communications grid.
ADCT could see $40 million added to its top line from broadband stimulus spending. That's about $120 million over the three years of rural network expansion, by JP Morgan estimates. Last week, ADCT raised its guidance on stronger sales, unrelated to the stimulus plan. The company's shares have risen 63% this year after a crushing downturn during the financial crisis when telcos slashed spending.
No. 3: Adtran
The access equipment supplier is also in line for a $40 million bump up in sales thanks to the broadband stimulus plan. Adtran supplies fiber optic and Ethernet equipment for high-speed network connections. Like ADCT, Adtran stands to collect about $120 million over three years.
No. 4: Cisco
What Internet expansion plan could exclude the big daddy of routers and switches, the basic plumbing of the whole Interweb system? Cisco will no doubt sell a boatload of networking gear under the broadband heading. But Cisco is also in line for fed money in the SmartGrid program and the electronic medical records effort.
Last year Cisco, along with a number of tech and telecom big hitters such as
, sent an open letter to Barack Obama urging the then president-elect to make the national broadband strategy a high priority. Despite being one of John McCain's highest-profile supporters in Silicon Valley, Cisco CEO John Chambers is clearly aiming the networking giant at Obama's IT overhaul.
No. 5: Juniper
Big Internet gear is a two-horse race, and Juniper is always the long shot. It will still be in an enviable position however, as telcos go shopping for shiny new routers with taxpayer cash.
Written by Scott Moritz in New York