the conclusion should be that the only way to tell is by trying yourself. all these accounts we read on forums are statistically insignificant unfortunately and unless someone comes up with a real statistical test that includes a significant sample size, then this is just one guy's opinion against another.
although i don't have statistically significant numbers, all i can say is that i live across from the ocean from california where MBT has their servers, and as soon as i click 'buy' or 'sell' the order is on at best instantly or at worst with a 2 second delay. considering network distance and internet traffic loads, i think that's pretty good not to mention that the trading servers have to break the order up and match it to ECN counterpart orders.
re. tick rates, the feed is a data streaming feed and it's more like a goddam hose so you have to make sure you have enough network throughput capacity with whatever internet provider you're using as the data comes in really fast and also that the link from your computer to the network has enough carry capacity or you will experience delays in your quote refresh rate, which happened to me on a regular basis before i switched to fiber optics (wikipedia: FTTH).
but even so, it all comes down to your internet provider and what kind of traffic congestion they are experiencing on their networks.
if that's an issue, you can get around it by renting a VPS box which would sit right next to the MBT trading servers. then you get the fastest response time possible. great for black box trading. don't know if you can remotely see the data feed behavior on the VPS though, but if you can, then it should also be possible to trigger trades manually on the VPS theoretically, thus benefiting from no data feed lag--the only lag would come from sending the mouse click event from the remote view of the VPS you have on your PC screen to the actual VPS box, but since that should be a very small amount of data, should be fairly fast.
anyway, not 100% sure about manual intervention on a VPS, as i haven't tried it, but don't see why not since it's not impossible from a tech point-of-view.
I am going to have to second that. i have seen spreads as wide as 50 pips before during news time. Wide spreads during news is pretty well common knowledge.
I have been considering trading with MBT lately, which is why i have been reading through all this. Just not sure. I have a system that uses limit orders to enter AND exit the market, which would seem to be perfect to use MBT for. I really just wish someone would post a serious detailed response about MBT, including order execution speeds, and tick rates. Those two things tell a lot more about a broker than most people realize.