Apocalypse movies often start out in remote areas, and then see all sorts of strange things happen to the unfortunate people who happen to be trapped there. While the current situation bears some resemblance to this for those in rural areas, there are, thankfully, more enjoyable things for the people trapped inside to do than be chased by zombies or dog soldiers without much information about what is going on.

We take this information flow, as we do streaming movies or video calling friends to stay connected, totally for granted. We expect to have access to reliable, high-speed broadband, and for those in most urban and semi-urban areas this is now readily available. However, in rural areas, the speeds and quality of broadband can continue to be horrific as the traditional copper-based network is stretched to its limits over the greater distances in rural areas.

This means that rural households often have to look for an alternative broadband provider, and Bigblu Broadband (BBB) is striving to ensure the functioning and sanity of people living in rural areas across the UK, Europe, and Australia. BBB provides customers with satellite or fixed wireless broadband that can deliver speeds of up to 1 Gbps from fixed wireless, and up to 50 Mbps from satellite that will increase to up to 100 Mbps in Q4 2020. As such, BBB is understandably experiencing a surge in demand for its broadband services as rural households hastily sign up to benefit from the higher speeds. As we explain in our initiation with BBB FY19 results yesterday, BBB can still see revenue growth in FY20 as c80% of its revenue is recurring from existing broadband subscriptions, and the remainder is dependent on BBB being able to continue to connect the strong demand it is currently experiencing from new households. This gives BBB a robust investment case that makes them a compelling stock to watch in the current climate, and if you’re not yet speaking to them on their roadshow next week, then click the link above and we’ll look to set up a call.

Another company involved in keeping rural areas connected is Filtronic (FTC), and following the sale of its cellphone antenna business, it has focused on design and manufacture of RF, microwave and mmwave products. Its E-band mmWave transceivers are cutting edge and enjoying strong demand in mobile backhaul because they offer network operators increased capacity (up to 10Gbps per channel) and reduced cost. Production lines have now been expanded at the Sedgefield facility to cope with additional demand, and Filtronic recently announced new design contracts for High-Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS), mmWave “X-Haul” applications, and other 5G mmWave markets. HAPS are unmanned drones or balloons which stay high above to give coverage and connection in remote areas and are also something that BBB could benefit from if they take off in future.

What the greater availability of high-speed broadband ultimately means, is that when this horrible situation has come to a conclusion, it’s likely that we’ll all have a greater appreciation for the vast amount of TV, films, and other video that we’d never previously experimented with. I should probably start by watching more of the things that Andy suggests… although thinking about the source in a bit more depth, I might be a lot safer just sticking to Netflix.

Happy Friday