The European Union has chosen who will develop its quantum internet network

The European Union has chosen who will develop its quantum internet network

Airbus defense, Orange, Pwc, Leonardo and Telespazio, together with Cnr and the National Meteorological Research Institute, are responsible for the development of EuroQci

(image: Getty Images) Government institutions are increasingly at risk of attacks information technology capable of threatening the functioning of democracies and the economy. For this reason, the European Commission has selected a consortium of companies and research institutes in the defense, aerospace and digital industries, to design the future quantum internet network of the Union. EuroQci (quantum communication infrastructure) will become the ultra-secure communication channel between critical and governmental infrastructures throughout the European Union.

Airbus defense, Orange, Pwc, Leonardo and Telespazio, together with the National Research Council and the 'National Meteorological Research Institute will be responsible for the development of EuroQci. Airbus deals with space and military technology. Orange is the largest telecommunications company in France. Pwc guarantees strategic and legal advice. Telespazio is one of the main operators in the field of satellite geoinformation services and network navigation systems and Leonardo is the Italian company of the Ministry of Economy that deals with defense, aerospace and security.

The Union wants to accelerate the development of the digital security sector, to increase the independence and autonomy of the bloc with respect to international competitors. The goal of the EuroQci initiative is therefore to build a quantum communication shield to protect all member states from cyber threats. For now, its main function will be to enable quantum key distribution, the most developed form of cryptography currently. These keys will be disseminated through the combination of space and ground infrastructures, which will be able to guarantee maximum security for short and long distance operations.

The first users of the infrastructure will be government agencies and authorities of the 'Union, which require the highest level of security to protect vital information for the security of the block. Later the QCI will host new features such as digital signatures, new forms of authentication and sharing of confidential information with unprecedented levels of security. Finally, it will allow the creation of a quantum internet network, developing new analytical and forecasting capabilities.

The project was launched in 2019 with the signing of the EuroQci declaration, in collaboration with the European Space Agency for the development of a quantum communication infrastructure. The study commissioned from the new consortium will last 15 months and will have to define the details of the end-to-end system, the design of the ground segment to support the key sharing service and provides for the development of an action plan that will include costs and timing for the realization of the project.

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