Telecommunications giant Verizon (NYSE:VZ, news, filings) this morning introduced a newly enhanced low latency offering on the crucial New York City to Chicago route. They’re targeting the high speed trading segment of course, with CME Group being one of the first to take advantage of it out in Aurora, Illinois. And Verizon provided an actual latency number for the new service: as low as 14.5ms round trip.
Verizon has long had one of the fastest routes across Pennsylvania, but it was an old one with limited capacity. It’s not clear from the PR just what fiber route Verizon’s new offering derives from, but it’s worth noting that Spread Networks’ lowest published wavelength offering currently checks in at 14.60ms between 350 E.Cermak and Carteret (the dark fiber offering is at 13.1ms). Exactly where the leading benchmark is right now depends on the precise endpoints amongst other things, but it’s surely in the same neighborhood as where Verizon’s new service is checking in.
That’s probably not a coincidence, so it sounds to me as if Verizon has leased capacity or probably dark fiber on Spread Networks’ fiber build and put the latest equipment on it. [EDIT: In fact Verizon says this is not the case, this is their own fiber and this is an upgrade to their existing route. ] In this case, that would be Ciena’s 6500 Packet-Optical platform. Spread has been playing its cards very close to its chest lately, so nobody actually knows whether their big bet on turning ultra-low latency bandwidth into profits has worked out as planned. They’ve been adding partners, building out a bit of metro, and even branching out into small cities along their route – but Verizon being in the building would surely change the equation. [EDIT: Since it’s not on Spread fiber, Verizon’s upgrade changes things for Spread on the competitive front in a different way, obviously)]
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