This morning, Zayo says it is taking customer orders for low latency connectivity from Seattle and both Chicago and the NY Metro area, which they've been working on since May. Zayo believes its routes now offer the lowest latency on both rates currently available. They're also in the process of upgrading the route to native 100G.
Zayo's Chicago-Seattle route is surely the one crossing what's known as the Northern Tier. It came with the 360Networks acquisition of course, and is built partly from the old Touch America fiber and some of Sprint's older backbone up there. Some of their Minnesota assets might also be playing a role.
Low latency to Seattle is more important than just for connectivity to Seattle and the Pacific Northwest in general. It's currently also the fastest way for the trading community between New York and Tokyo, as well as other Asian markets via the submarine cables that land along the Washington coast.
Hence, there has been some talk around that Zayo might decide to overbuild part the older section of that Northern Tier backbone. For a part of the country with minimal population, it's gotten a bit of attention in the past few years. Hunter Newby's Allied Fiber has a build up there as its Stage 3, although that's still a while off. And XO once tried to get stimulus funds to build a route through the region, unsuccessfully.
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