On the classic Internet, data traffic is based on the fact that electrons or photons flow from node to node. A European research consortium plans to break away from this transmission principle. The Quantum Internet Alliance (QIA) headed by the Netherlands-based QuTech institute is developing a network prototype whose nodes are connected by quantum entanglement so that every time the state of a node changes this has an effect on the other nodes – data is not being transferred. Data communication would per se be bugproof and would achieve a completely new level of security.
At the end of October 2018, the QIA received notice from the European Commission that it would initially be given ten million euros to develop a quantum Internet. The money will be used to develop the first quantum network between Amsterdam, Leiden, The Hague, and Delft by 2020. Twelve European research institutes and universities and more than 20 companies are involved in the project.
Support for the quantum Internet is embedded in the QUANTUM FLAGSHIP Initiative with which the European Commission will provide one billion euros for the development of quantum technologies until 2028. The funding is split between five research areas: Quantum communication, quantum computing, quantum simulation, quantum-based metrology/sensor technology, and basic research.
Funding will be provided not only on an EU level. The German federal government is also investing EUR 650 million in its program “Quantum technologies – from the fundamentals to the market.” From April 15 to October 15, small and medium-sized companies can submit outline proposals and applications for the “SME Innovative: Photonics and Quantum Technologies” program. The time schedule for anyone who is interested in the transnational QuantERA program is somewhat tighter. Here the cutoff date is the middle of February 2019.