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Indeed, he and Elliott still have a ways to go to create a true commodities “spot market” where traders can agree on amounts, quality and price at the same time for prompt exchange. A bona fide commodity exchange, where traders lay bets on future bandwidth prices, is still further off.

But these are the goals the new online exchanges are working toward. At RateXchange, former Sprint executive and company founder Sean Whelan has brought in an expert from the Kansas wheat exchange to help create something akin to a true commodities market for bandwidth. Whelan says RateXchange already offers standardized contracts, and that circuit tests for determining the quality of sellers’ connections is next.

Still, the key to an efficient exchange-whether for stocks, wheat or bandwidth-is the ability to deliver the goods. To that end, Band-X recently installed its own switch at Telehouse, a major telecom hub in London where many carriers’ lines converge. The switch, network hardware for selecting the path along which data or phone calls will travel, should allow Band-X to actually juggle traffic between clients once they complete a deal.

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