€10 million Quantum Communications Infrastructure network project gets underway at the Walton Institute

A €10 million Quantum Communications Infrastructure network project led by Waterford’s Walton Institute in South East Technological University (SETU) gets underway today with a meeting at the university.

The Irish Government and the EU are committing €10 million in a new initiative which aims to protect the transmission of sensitive data and prevent cyberattacks.

Quantum Communications Infrastructure (QCI) network is a first for Ireland, and will be deployed over the next two years by the IrelandQCI. This pilot network forms part of Europe’s initiative EuroQCI, which aims to build a secure Quantum Communication Infrastructure across the whole EU.

The main function of this new QCI network will be to enable an ultra-secure form of encryption so that data can be transmitted safely without the risk of being hacked.

The Irish Government is committing €5 million to the initiative, matching the €5 million in EU funding secured by IrelandQCI through the EU’s Digital Europe Programme. This funding will result in the deployment of a pilot QCI network across Ireland by 2024.

IrelandQCI consists of experts from six different universities, led by Waterford’s Walton Institute in South East Technological University (SETU), and also includes specialists in quantum technologies from Trinity College Dublin and University College Cork’s Tyndall National Institute, with support from University College Dublin (UCD) and Maynooth University (MU), the Irish Centre for High-End Computing (University of Galway), as well as HEAnet and ESB Telecoms.

The new network will be made available for research purposes, as well as allowing Government, agencies, and companies to start building competence and capability in this key area and ultimately, to develop the skills to secure critical infrastructure, data assets, and encryption systems.

The State’s Digital Connectivity Strategy was launched by Minister Smyth earlier in December. This strategy recognises the need to facilitate and promote research and innovation in new emerging technologies such as Quantum Communication Infrastructure, particularly for the use of public bodies and agencies.