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What will it cost to anchor the fastest CHI->NYC wireless route?

A May 2017 Bloomberg article underscores the extent of the efforts that have been made by high-frequency trading firms to decrease the latencies at which market information signals can propagate between physically distant data centers. The article reports that Jump Trading, LLC – the opaque trading powerhouse, with a blank silvery website and a Twitter account with no tweets — recently completed the $14 million purchase of a 31-acre field just north of the Aurora, Illinois data center that houses the matching engines for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).

The CME is the United States' highest volume futures exchange, and is a primary determinant of price formation for financial markets, both nationally and globally. By strategically placing a millimeter wave radio in the far southeast corner of its newly acquired field, Jump is able to shave roughly one microsecond off the ~4,000 microsecond one-way travel time to the New Jersey-based data centers that host stock, currency, and other financial exchanges.

Jump's jump on the competition may, however, be short-lived. CyrusOne, owner of the Aurora data center has filed detailed plans to construct a 350-foot communications tower directly on the data center property. The presence of this tower will allow direct lines of sight to relay points near Chicago's south Lake Michigan frontage, which will in turn permit the construction of microwave relays to the New York/New Jersey metro area that are more direct (and thus faster) than any that currently exist.

Competition is likely to be steep for the spots on the new tower that can support radios and dish antennas, and the question of how much these spots are worth is interesting. The rents at this prime location give insight into the overall size and current state of a notoriously secretive industry.

What yearly rent in dollars will be paid to CyrusOne for the opportunity to place communications equipment at a prime spot on the tower?

This question will resolve definitively using the first price revealed either in an oficial company filing, or in the mainstream financial press. The price should be an annual cost of indefinite usage, or if for a finite term, the average annual cost over that term. Question resolves as ambiguous if no price is revealed by the Jan 2018 resolution date.


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