Level 3 Enhances Low Latency Offerings

April 14th, 2010 by · 17 Comments

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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Categories: Internet Backbones · Low Latency

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17 Comments So Far


  • carlk says:

    Do you somehow foresee the trading operations from the likes of Goldman and JPM, being forestalled any time soon?

    Speed Rocky, speed to their trades while they’re carving up pennies in between trades one hundred times! Do I miss the days of EIGHTHS or SIXTEENTHS, even 32nds representing bid/ask spreads on prices across NYSE and Nasdaq.

    Hey, what ever happened to the proposed back up plans by these Masters of the Universe in favor of Wall Street West?

    Terrorists be damned, I guess!

    • Rob Powell says:

      No, it’s just that I don’t see the overall value being created, just financial companies picking each others’ pockets. When they all have ultra-low latency networks, will they still be making all that extra money? I’m not complaining, I’m just wary…

      • Frank A. Coluccio says:

        I think the art of low-latency delivery will survive the commodification of algorithmic trading quite nicely, due to the increased urgency to cut down on transaction times in cloud compute environments that are still plagued by long distance (frequently international) procedure calls and storage fetches. The end user’s experience in this regard can either make or break a server virtualization or desktop VDI migration. In the flattened world we now live in, low latency is becoming highly critical in a growing number of application areas, thus the work we’re now seeing to satisfy financial institutions and the online gaming community won’t go for naught, but will only expand.

  • carlk says:

    Robert, financial companies picking each others’ pockets has been going on since their creation, including individual cut throats who have roamed the planet from its beginning.

    Jefferson’s worst nightmares regarding Hamilton facilitating the Aristocrats, for example, have come full circle over 200 years later. Money, purely for the sake of money, in the hands of few offering little in the way of value or productivity. They DESTROY far more than they create, in doing so!

    Unfortunately, it will not cease and desist until Mother Earth is destroyed or replaced with a holier, kindred spirit bestowed upon it by its heavenly Father.

    Until then, expect GOLDMAN to PICK the largest share of OPEN POCKETS!

    The KEY issue for the network owners aiding and abetting these SCOUNDRELS to accomplish their goals; however, is to make them PAY DEARLY!

    To date, and much to my chagrin, this hasn’t been the case!

  • carlk says:

    Yet the AMAZING CONTRADICTION is that, those who are producing, creating, and BUILDING VALUES at the network level for their benefit as well as pleasure to do little good, remain on IGNORE from the stand point of “REWARDS.”

    There’s a reason for that, and it’s NOT by accident!

    Until Banksters, investment or otherwise, get back to the business of what they’re supposed to do for capitalism and society at large, Adam Smith’s theories have been debunked!

  • H Morgan - euNetworks says:

    Wow, some pretty negative comments here about high frequency traders. I should declare an interest – we provide ultra low latency routes for this activity in Europe and are very much in the “race to zero”.

    The purpose of a network is to meet the requirements of its customers. If a network is being optimised, to better match those requirements, surely this is a good thing?

    As for the activity of the customers, high frequency trading has fuelled a massive level of technology development and enhancement. The activity has increased volumes in the market and increased liquidity. It has resulted in tighter spreads and reduced transaction costs.

    It’s called evolution – adapt or die. People will always find new and better ways to make money, and a side effect of this basic human trait is innovation and development.

  • carlk says:

    Computer algorithms for the sake of liquidity. Who is this, Alan Greenspan speaking? I’ll sacrifice liquidity to witness a large swath of Wall Street’s brain trust being released to go and do more productive things versus SCALPING SPREADS from underlying owners’ property during interim transfer stages.

    Somebody has to implement a “change” to those formulas at any snap shot in time, no? Who does that, and how and when do they know?

    How does a computer adjust for DRIED UP VOLUME or SUPPLY-no sellers-with stored up DEMAND-plenty of buyers lurking?

    Here’s a novel thought. Shut the markets down except on a quarterly basis, whereby, these number crunching dictators with their math formulas can PEG NEW VALUES by letting interested buyers take shares from consenting sellers based upon those prices at the time of the report.

    All the trading and manipulating in between is the NON PRODUCTIVE work of CHARLATANS!

  • Dave Rusin says:

    Show us the revenues ….

  • carlk says:

    Robert, you had weighed in on this in the past. A personal contact, one who had been very interested in the success of Wall Street West, a back up system to fight terrorism, a system that no longer seems to interest “The Masters of the Universe,” made this comment recently. Care to respond? tia

  • carlk says:

    Here’s the comment after the paste didn’t get pasted above. 🙂

  • carlk says:

    WTH! I can’t paste or re-write the author’s “quote” here, it seems!

    I guess I’ll wait for (3)’s RESPONSE after the “quiet period” is over? LOL!

  • Kevin says:

    Geez Carlk, you are one of the dumbest people in the world. Congrats!

    • Rob Powell says:

      Now now, Carl’s not dumb, he’s just extremely talented at confusing the hell out of my blogging software.

  • carlk says:

    Well, my mama always told me, “stupid is as stupid does.”

    O’Hara, is that you? 🙂

    Let’s try one more time, however.

    My contact wrote:

    “That news release is unclear as to whether they can deliver an order to Chicago as opposed to delivering their entire trading book without any loss of trades. That’s the challenge for wall street west. “

    • Rob Powell says:

      Well, the low latency kick the industry is on is a separate deal from Wall Street West which was more about backing up data in real time than trading in real time. That’s the distinction your contact was trying to make.

      WSW seems to have foundered mainly because other alternatives have been found that met criteria that have changed over time. They may resurrect it at some point though, you never know.

  • carlk says:

    Yes, and spamming the heck out of your board!

    Sorry, Rob!

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