A few weeks ago, Matthew Phillips wrote about Project Express, a new fiber-optic cable being built across the Atlantic that will give a select number of high-frequency traders a tiny speed advantage in trading times between New York and London. Currently, data take 64 milliseconds (give or take a few fractions of an eye blink) to travel round-trip between New York and London along a cable built in 1998 called the AC-1.
According to its New Jersey-based operator, Hibernia Atlantic, the $300 million Project Express will be 5.2 milliseconds faster than the AC-1, with an execution time of 59.6 milliseconds. That will make Project Express the world’s fastest transatlantic cable when it opens in 2013 and the first to achieve round-trip trading speeds of less than 60 milliseconds. Unless traders beat them to it.
It appears someone will. A small company called Perseus Telecom, in partnership with a subsidiary of India’s big telecom company, Reliance Communications, has announced the launch of QuanTA, a fiber-optic cable stretching from Long Island to the U.K. with an expected round-trip execution time of less than 60 milliseconds by the end of 2012. Rather than build a brand-new cable like Hibernia-Atlantic did, Perseus made improvements to an existing cable called the FLAG Atlantic-1 North, or FA-1 North, a small portion of a 17,000-mile underwater fiber-optic cable stretching from the east coast of North America to Japan. Until now, the FA-1 North was the second-fastest transatlantic cable after the AC-1.