According to a PR yesterday, abvt is adding new express routes to its fiber network in the Chicago metro area. The new routes will bypass more than 23 miles of the existing fiber footprint on the way to Chicago's western suburbs, and thus will provide a lower latency route for financial customers and others seeking greater speed. The new Chicago routes will be operational by mid 2011.
While we hear more about specific efforts addressing intercity and submarine latency, much of the low latency battle is fought in the metro. And it is changing how such networks are built, in that having the shortest route distance may trump the desire to have a loop that covers more potential future target customers. Abovenet is therefore spending capex not to bring new buildings on net, but to cut directly across some of those loops that MFN deployed back in the dot com boom and get the higher margin, low latency business that results.
Similar efforts are underway by various providers in not just Chicago but the other metro areas that have seen the greatest interest in low latency bandwidth: New York, London, and Frankfurt. Every nanosecond counts nowadays. I personally still don't see the long term macro benefit from all this, but who am I to argue with a trend that shifts some of the power and money made in the financial markets back toward the fiber operators who power them.