Ultra High-Speed Telecom Links Markets in New York, Chicago

Published October 4, 2010

Spread Networks Inc., a privately owned telecommunications provider based in Mississippi, recently turned on its all new dark-fiber network. The new technology establishes a new ultra low-latency standard linking stock exchanges in Chicago and New York City.

According to the company, the network attains the speeds Wall Street and the Chicago Stock Exchange desire in order to make possible high-frequency trading where even the delay of a few milliseconds can mean the loss of several thousand dollars.

To bring this system to the market, Spread Networks trenched a long-haul route on the shortest possible path connecting New York City and Chicago. The network’s customers each get a dedicated fiber pair to operate their own private network.

“Spread Networks was built from the ground up to meet demand from enterprise customers for diverse, low-latency connectivity between the nation’s largest financial centers” said David Barksdale, chief executive officer for Spread Networks. “We are pleased to report that [Spread’s customers] are achieving sub-13.33 millisecond speeds across a very secure operating environment.”

No Government Intervention
Spread Networks is working with several network equipment providers to offer a comprehensive system providing customers with infrastructure, equipment, and services needed to run their own private network, which the company says is the best way to manage consistently low latency and network security. The Spread Networks system avoids the time lag of traditional telecommunications offerings by providing its customers with a private network that achieves a “clean speed,” allowing data to run as close as possible to the true speed of light through fiber.

Developments like this display what the free market brings about without government intervention, says George Ou, policy director for the Digital Society think tank in Washington, DC.

“The market does pick winners and losers; [it’s] not about treating everyone equally,” Ou says. He notes this is the type of market-driven development that net neutrality mandates could hurt if the proposed government policy become a reality. “You can’t treat everyone the same if one company is paying $50 a month for service and another company is paying $500,000 a month,” he said.

“If everyone is paying the same, no one will want the service,” Ou said. “You can dig your own hole [as Spread Networks did], but you can’t [provide preferential service] as an ISP. That’s the fundamental problem with the net neutrality laws.”

Phil Britt ([email protected]) writes from South Holland, Illinois.