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EU to build its quantum communications infrastructure




EU. Ireland's latest initialling of a political declaration on Wednesday 28 July 2021 brings the European project a step closer to establishing a secure satellite-based connectivity system to make broadband available throughout the EU.

Called EuroQCI (European Quantum Communication Infrastructure), the initiative aims to "enhance existing communication infrastructures by adding a level of security based on the principles of quantum mechanics. In particular, the infrastructure will provide services based on quantum key distribution, a highly secure form of encryption," says a European Commission statement. By connecting quantum computers, simulators and sensors via quantum networks, it will become essential to the EU's cyber security needs. This includes protection against cyber threats, hacking of smart energy grids, air traffic control, banks, healthcare facilities. But it will also ensure that data centres can store and exchange information securely.

"As we have seen recently, cybersecurity is, more than ever, at the heart of our digital sovereignty. I am delighted that all Member States are now part of the EuroQCI project: this key element of our future secure connectivity initiative will ensure that all European citizens have access to secure and reliable communication services," said Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton.

 

EuroQCI as the backbone of the European quantum internet

Set to become the backbone of Europe's quantum internet, EuroQCI will consist of two elements: a terrestrial component using existing fibre-optic communication networks and linking strategic sites at national and cross-border level, and a space component covering long distances in the EU and on other continents.

EuroQCI is supported by all Member States*, the European Commission and the European Space Agency. The political declaration commits them to explore, over the next 12 months, ways to develop and deploy this quantum communication infrastructure across the EU over the next 10 years. "I encourage all Member States to be ambitious in the actions they will take, as the establishment of efficient national networks is the foundation of EuroQCI," comments Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President of the Commission for a Digital Europe.

In October 2018, the European Commission launched the first phase of the Quantum Technologies Flagship Programme. This €1bn, ten-year initiative pools resources around a jointly agreed science and technology roadmap. Five areas are covered: quantum communication, quantum computing, quantum simulation, quantum metrology and sensing, and the fundamental science behind quantum technologies.

 

* Signature of the political declaration in 2021 by Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands and Spain, Latvia and Ireland
In 2020 by the Czech Republic, Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Romania and Estonia
In 2019 by Hungary, Portugal and Poland, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, France, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and Finland.


Eric Apim


Wednesday, July 28th 2021



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