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ICE Data Services Rolls Out Hybrid Wireless/Fibre Solution, Offering Ultra-Low Latency Market Data Between US and Europe

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ICE Data Services is to offer an ultra-low latency data service between markets in the US and Europe, including connections into London, Frankfurt, and Bergamo. The new offering expected to be among the fastest commercially available market data services between CME and Europe.

Designed to minimise latency, the new service will utilise a combination of high-speed transatlantic fibre and wireless networks on each continent to transport market data. The initial route offered will be eastbound from the CME data centre in Aurora to multiple locations across London and other European cities, including Frankfurt and Bergamo. ICE’s future plans include introducing additional hybrid routes between Europe and the US, covering both eastbound and westbound directions.

“The key objective of this initiative is primarily about speed,” says Nicolas Bonnet, Director, Global Connectivity Product at ICE, speaking with TradingTech Insight. “Historically, the ICE Global Network has prioritised resilience, redundancy, and capacity. With a 100 GbE backbone spread across the globe, we’ve always had the ability to move as much content as necessary. However, this new service is focused on optimising speed by leveraging the best assets we have at our disposal to achieve the lowest possible latency from a commercial market data perspective.”

He continues: “What’s truly innovative in this offering is the integration of different technologies. We’re already utilising our wireless assets in North America, covering areas like Toronto, New Jersey and Illinois, as well as in Europe, including London, Frankfurt and Bergamo. And we also have an existing hybrid solution, a mix of wireless and fibre, between Illinois and Tokyo and Shanghai.”

The initial rollout of the service will provide low-latency delivery of CME market data to Europe, explains Bonnet. “The data travels wirelessly from Illinois to New Jersey, where we then switch to the transatlantic cable up to Slough. From there, we distribute the signal wirelessly to locations such as Basildon, Telehouse 2 (where the LSE is based), Frankfurt, and soon, Bergamo. It’s this hybrid element that’s new. We plan to go live in October with low-latency delivery of CME market data into London and Frankfurt, and soon afterwards we’ll extend out to other London locations and to Bergamo.

Firms switching from pure fibre-based delivery to the new hybrid solution can expect to reduce one-way transatlantic latencies by more than 5 milliseconds, claims Bonnet. “The new service focuses on ultra-low latency, offering one-way latencies from CME into Europe of just 34-38 milliseconds. We believe this will be the fastest commercial market data offering between CME and Europe. There may be faster solutions, but those are private point-to-point services, not commercial one-to-many offerings.”

However, there is a trade-off in terms of the depth of data available, notes Bonnet. “Our offering will include trades and top of book updates messages for selected financial symbols, whether they be in equities, commodities, or fixed income. The full depth of the book isn’t available through this service because bandwidth on the wireless segment is limited, so we have to be highly strategic in selecting the specific messages we transmit. If customers require the full depth of the CME book in Europe, we can certainly provide that via fibre, with a one-way latency of 40 to 48 milliseconds, depending on your location.”

Customers already using ICE’s wireless services will be familiar with the API, says Bonnet. “We deliver low-latency market data using the Strikelight protocol, which is the standard protocol for ICE Global Network’s wireless data delivery. Clients will need to adapt to this API, but it’s the same one we use for data transport between Aurora and Asia and between Canada and New Jersey. So it’s a language that low-latency customers are likely already familiar with.”

ICE is now planning to launch additional hybrid routes between Europe and the US, both Eastbound and Westbound. “We’re still in the brainstorming and feedback collection phase for the next stages,” says Bonnet. “We’re considering whether to bring content from New Jersey into Europe, or perhaps to extend our service east to west, like delivering London Metal Exchange data to Illinois for metal trading opportunities. We have various ideas, but we’re keen to hear from trading participants about their specific needs using this combination of assets. Several possibilities are on the whiteboard; we just need to determine our next steps.”

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