Jorge Mas CanosaMasTec gets $250M contract for 2015, 2016. "We were awarded a contract for approximately a quarter of a billion dollars of 1-gigabit fiber deployment work," CEO Jose Mas announced. Fiber opportunities "are much greater than people quite understand. I think we are in for an incredible cycle in that business" He added "Every time you pick a publication in the telecommunications sector, it’s got a carrier talking about building out 1-gigabit capabilities and what you are seeing is, you’re seeing multiple markets today where you have multiple carriers building in the same markets.... We’re going to be working 1-gigabit work for multiple customers over the next couple of years.

     That this probably is AT&T is my conclusion. Mas carefully provided no information on who the customer was, despite being pressed by investment analysts.

AT&T and Google are the only likely candidates for a build this size. I'm sure Mas would welcome work from Google but it's not Google's style to contract so far ahead. Century/Qwest is not impossible. The cable companies have been looking at fiber for two decades, but DOCSIS is coming along so well they are unlikely to switch.

   25% of MasTec's work comes from AT&T, both wireless and wireline. AT&T's LTE construction has come in ahead of schedule and MasTec deserves some of the credit. They do field installs for DIRECTV as well, giving them plenty of experience that would speed AT&T's build. They are having a disappointing year because some big wireless builds are winding down or deferred. AT&T and Verizon have both built LTE to over 90% and said they will do little more. Sprint and T-Mobile are in such flux they seem stalled. 

   It's also my estimate that the $250M contract is probably half a million lines. Verizon famously quoted a figure of $700/home passed, which they've said is going down. Not all of that money would go to the construction firm. Some is equipment and other corporate costs. Rural builds often run $3,000-$5,000 per home but AT&T has provided no evidence they are thinking of rural fiber. If they could get a government subsidy, of course, that could change. The current subsidies for rural broadband usually are far above the likely costs of the telco.

    MasTec is a fascinating company. Jorge Mas Canosa (pictured) fought at the Bay of Pigs and was a militant leader of the Cuban exile community. He was close to Ronald Reagan. In 1971, he took over a small construction company serving telecom and grew it to $billion when he passed it to his son Jose in 2007. Jose has concentrated on growing the business to over $4B.