Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
DG GROW Newsroom

European Commission organises event on quantum communication infrastructure

Director Matthias Petschke delivering the welcome speech
On 30 September, the European Commission and the European Space Agency (ESA) organised a joint industry day on “quantum communication infrastructure (QCI) for Europe – space segment”. This event was aimed at helping European industry and researchers develop the necessary technology for this emerging sector. The main goal was to share and discuss various options for potential space infrastructure for different use cases with QCI stakeholders.

The event follows a declaration signed by ten EU countries aimed at working together to explore how to make an integrated QCI composed of land- and space-based solutions available across the EU. Since June 2019, the European Commission, with the support of the ESA, has been assessing the benefit of quantum key distribution (QKD) technologies for space in the long-term.

Over 100 representatives from EU institutions and agencies, EU countries, industry, research institutes, universities and the user community were in attendance to exchange ideas on a possible QCI space segment.

An outline on the state of play was presented by the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs and the Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology – the Commission departments currently assessing the feasibility of a QCI and its space-based and land-based segments respectively. The ESA also presented a preliminary analysis for the QCI space segment under the SAGA project. The presentations were followed by two panel discussions where the panellists provided their views to the European Commission and the ESA, and faced challenging questions from the audience.

The main topics discussed at this event concerned technological readiness and other key aspects of a QCI, as well as benefits for users. Important milestones on the roadmap for this initiative were also discussed and dialogue on possible future collaborations between stakeholders was encouraged. One major outcome of this event was an invitation to industry to deliver a white paper on a European QCI to EU countries by mid-October.

Participants at the event shared the view that QCI represents the level of ambition Europe needs.