The Quantum Internet Alliance has launched a seven-year program, approved by the European Commission, aimed at collaboratively and innovatively building a quantum Internet ecosystem ” made in Europe“.
The alliance, led by pioneering quantum internet university QuTech Delft in the Netherlands, announced on Friday (October 14th) its intention to develop the world’s first comprehensive network prototype capable of connecting distant cities.
The project also aims to create an ecosystem capable of exploiting developments that can be transformed into innovative engineering solutions.
The quantum internet is a network technology that can benefit different sectors, such as the security and telecommunications industry or the financial sector.
“We would like to build a quantum network prototype that contains all the necessary elements to boost the industrial development of a European quantum internet capable of bringing value to users in the EU and beyond.Quantum Internet Alliance (QIA) director Stephanie Wehner told EURACTIV.
This network has the potential to become the world’s first of its kind, Wehner added.
Ultimately, the goal is to make the quantum internet available to everyone. The focus is therefore on accelerating the transition from research to engineering, to finally bring the technology to market.
The second objective is to create a platform for European quantum Internet innovation that can transform these technological advances into innovations.
“This includes, for example, support for entrepreneurs, protection of knowledge, building talent in different areas, development of use cases, as well as a technology forum to bring together academic and industrial actors throughout the value chain.“, explains Mrs. Wehner.
This ecosystem approach is intended to be extended to all Member States. The emphasis on a community-based and interdisciplinary approach is one of the reasons why QIA was selected for this funding, a Commission spokesperson told EURACTIV.
The budget for the first half of the program, which will start in October 2022 and last 3.5 years, is 24 million euros.
QIA is a team of 40 partners, including academic institutions, telecom operators, system operators and quantum technology startups across Europe. The idea is that interdisciplinary expertise complements each other to meet the various challenges that accompany building a large-scale quantum network.
This program is part of a wider European vision to advance quantum technologies through a collaborative approach, with pooling of resources seen as a European advantage.
On October 4, the Commission also announced that six countries in the Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, France, Italy and Poland would organize “The first European quantum computers ». These will be open to industry representatives and academic researchers from across the EU.
According to the Commission,these new quantum computers are a step towards achieving the digital decade goals of having a first quantum-accelerated computer by 2025 and being at the forefront of quantum capabilities by 2030“.
However, no additional funding is foreseen at EU level for advanced quantum networks to connect users to long-distance fiber optic networks.
“Since companies like Amazon and Cisco recently announced efforts in this area, it will be very difficult for us to stay ahead without more funding, including test beds to take the technology from the lab to the real world.Mrs. Wehner said.