Level 3 Communications (NYSE:LVLT, news, filings) today announced enhancements to its low latency services between major financial destinations in New York and Chicago. Along with improved performance, they now offer two different levels of SLA'd service. Level 3 has specialized routes serving this market segment between DC and Chicago, Chicago and NYC, NYC and London, and London-Frankfurt. They are now also able to offer protected configurations in which *both* legs are of ultra-low latency.
Following the consolidation after the bubble, Level 3 has been sitting on a huge war chest of intercity and metro fiber across a wide variety of routes. It should therefore come as no surprise that they have more options than almost anyone in assembling the shortest possible routes between and within major cities in the US and Europe. Although they have been rather quiet about it in terms of PR, they have been very active in feeding the voracious appetite for low latency connectivity from the financial markets all year.
Without that lifeline, 2009 would have been an even tougher year for them. Now in 2010, they will no doubt be trying to ride the same trend back to real organic growth. It has been a while since we have seen real differentiation to be had in raw intercity transport. While I still have my doubts as to the long term viability of the financial community's uses of such connectivity, it certainly does have the potential to make things fun again. Now we just need it to matter outside of the top half dozen cities.
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