ETF Trends
ETF Trends

A push for more broadband across the United States could benefit internet and other exchange traded funds (ETFs) in the long run.

Kevin Martin, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, says that high-speed internet access is so important to the welfare of U.S. consumers that America can’t afford not to offer it for free to anyone who wants it.

He hopes to use a chunk of wireless airwaves about to hit the auction block next year to help him realize his vision, reports Leslie Cauley for USA Today. In  his position, Martin is responsible for looking out for the interests of U.S. consumers, and the FCC has regulatory sway over such businesses as cable, radio and telecommunications.

Martin sees broadband as being the main means of communications for millions of Americans, just as copper phone lines had been for decades. He’s primarily concerned about consumers in rural areas, where dial-up and satellite-based Internet are still the norm.

If you think your internet could be faster, you’re probably right: the United States ranks 15th among industrialized nations in average internet speed. Japan, South Korea, Finland and France round out the top four. It only takes two minutes to download a movie in Japan; here, it can take two hours. In Japan, they pay about the same as we do.

The Broadband HOLDRs (BDH) have been up sharply in the last month, up 16.3%. Year-to-date, it’s up 5%. Its top holding is Qualcomm (QCOM), which makes up 52.3% of the fund. Motorola (MOT) is 11.3%, and Corning (GLW) is 16.6%.

Internet HOLDRs (HHH) have also been trading higher, up 5.4% in the last month while it’s down 14.8% year-to-date. Its top components are Amazon (AMZN), 25%; Ebay (EBAY), 24.3%; Yahoo (YHOO), 23.7%.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.