Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, and Spain have already signed the declaration on the quantum communication infrastructure at the Digital Assembly in Bucharest on 13 June 2019.
The countries signing the QCI declaration have agreed to work both together and with the Commission to prepare, preferably before the end of 2020, an action plan to explore the benefits and feasibility of building the QCI infrastructure. This will cover preliminary studies, the technological options available for developing and deploying QCI all over the EU, the funding required, and the security certification schemes that would be needed for the QCI to deploy technologies that support sensitive applications. It will also focus on the further development of high-quality, competitive European cybersecurity and quantum technologies, and their integration in the QCI infrastructure, contributing to increasing Europe's digital autonomy.
The QCI will help Europe to secure its critical infrastructure and encryption systems against cyber threats, protecting smart energy grids, air traffic control, banks, health care facilities and more from hacking. It will also enable data centres to store and exchange information safely, and will preserve the long-term privacy of government data. The long-term plan is for the QCI infrastructure to become the backbone for Europe's Quantum Internet, connecting quantum computers, simulators and sensors via quantum networks to distribute information and resources securely all over Europe.
The first service to make use of this new infrastructure will be Quantum Key Distribution (QKD). QKD is an extremely secure form of encryption: it uses the principles of quantum mechanics to provide the sender and recipient of an encrypted message with an intrinsically secure random key in such a way that an attacker cannot eavesdrop or control the system. QKD can secure confidential data, power grids, government communications and digital transactions, even against crypto code-breaking by the quantum computers of the future.