Yesterday I posted about the apparent arrival of Spread Networks based on their website, and it turns out I was just a day early. This morning the company has made it official, they are opening a sub-13.33ms route between New York City and Chicago that is specifically tailored to the financial community. The business plan is to sell both the dark fiber and the management of the gear, and therefore they also announced what gear has been certified to achieve their latency targets. Two of those have been announced thus far: ADVA and Infinera.
Both companies have been working with Spread to drive every last possible bit of latency out of networks based on their gear. While the short 825 mile route followed by the fiber is a big part of it, there has also been a big focus on decreasing ‘drag’ from the optical gear such as long coils of dispersion compensation fiber. 13.33ms is really fast, and will surely make the traders happy – at least until everyone is similarly armed.
This network is so specialized that it probably won’t affect other verticals much. It appears to have only one path so there is still a need for other low latency paths for diversity, though Verizon and Level 3 which have been the beneficiaries of the need for speed thus far are probably nonplussed. Is NYC/Chicago a special case, or might there be other routes on which there is a big enough market for low latency bandwidth to justify something like this? London-Frankfurt perhaps? Possibly even a new transatlantic cable?
I’m quite curious about the actual route taken. When they left the railroad tracks, how did they handle the rights of way issues? Since the route is optimized for speed, the buildout likely cost rather more than the route a carrier would have built – but how much more?
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