EU starts quantum network rollout as Ireland signs deal

July 30, 2021 // By Nick Flaherty
EU starts quantum network rollout as Ireland signs deal
All 27 EU member states are now committed to building an EU quantum communication infrastructure

Ireland has signed the EuroQCI Declaration, enabling the building of a secure quantum communication infrastructure that will span the whole EU and out into space.

Ireland was the last of the 27 member states to sign, allowing the European Commission and the European Space Agency (ESA) to start building the EuroQCI quantum network. This will be part of a space-based secure connectivity system currently being planned by the Commission.

The Commission is planning to launch a satellite-based secure connectivity system that will make high-speed broadband available everywhere in Europe to provide reliable, secure and cost-effective connectivity services. It will include the EuroQCI network to protect critical infrastructure.

The EuroQCI will integrate quantum cryptography and secure quantum-based systems into conventional communication infrastructures, adding an extra layer of security, for example by providing services based on quantum key distribution.

The EuroQCI will consist of a terrestrial segment, where fibre communication networks link strategic sites at national and cross-border level, and a space segment based on satellites, and linking national quantum communication networks all over the EU and worldwide. The aim is for it to be fully functional by 2027 with working now starting.

In 2021 and 2022, Digital Europe programme and Connecting Europe Facility actions will support the development of national and cross-border quantum communication networks, the development of European devices and systems, and a testing and certification infrastructure to prepare for the use of new technologies in the EuroQCI.

The development and deployment of the space elements ae still under discussion as part of the space strategy.

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