EU Flag Waving

The European Quantum Communication Infrastructure, or EuroQCI, commission is to conduct a study on the design and feasibility of a quantum-secure network across Europe.  The developed quantum technologies will enhance cybersecurity of such applications as air traffic control, healthcare, and fintech, namely the banking industry. 

Europa.eu, the European Commission, has commissioned a conglomerate of commercial firms and government orchestrated research organizations to develop the foundation of a quantum internet.

 

Further, electrical power providers and various levels of government will benefit from this European-birthed and European-driven composition of leading-edge technology.  Predominantly, Europe’s institutions stand to gain from quantum encryption systems and the applications to critical infrastructure.

Airbus is leading the conglomerate of European companies.  Well-known entities such as Leonardo, Orange, PwC France, and several others, have agreed to integrate quantum technologies into a quantum network.  Largely, the quantum network will be connected through fiber-optic networking.  To ensure complete expanse, the network will include satellites linking the furthest reaches of Europe and the globe, provided in part by the European Space Agency (ESA). 

Initial components anticipated are those of a quantum key distribution (QKD) service.  The security of QKD lies within the quantum state of entangled photons passed within the network.  Whether by fiber-optic transmission or via satellite, the encryption keys have tell-tale properties which irrefutably reveal the keys’ exposure to unauthorized parties. 

Further components to the network, though programmatic in nature, will provide a codified way-forward.  An implementation plan with fiscal analysis, as well as detailed timeline are expected at the completion of the nearly 1 ½ year project.  By 2024, initial testing and validation is expected to have been studied with a testable segment that year.  Operation of quantum communication infrastructure is anticipated by 2027. 

Author:  Robert Clifford, CISSP, MSc Cybersecurity