KPN and QuTech join forces to make quantum internet a reality

KPN and QuTech signed a new cooperative agreement, to work together on making quantum internet a reality. KPN will be providing the infrastructure and locations that QuTech, a collaboration between TU Delft and TNO, will use for research and development.

The quantum internet is an optically-connected network of (small) quantum computers. Such a network enables the exchange of quantum bits between any of the connected quantum processors in order to solve problems that are intractable classically, including high-precision timing as well as secure access to quantum computers in the cloud. Another desired application of a quantum internet is to provide virtually unbreakable privacy and a foundation of secure communication, guaranteed by the fundamental laws of physics.

Jan Kees de Jager, CFO KPN and Chairman Economic Board Zuid-Holland: “We are very impressed by the world leading capabilities at TU Delft and TNO in both fundamental and applied quantum technology exploration. KPN is eager to work with QuTech on the road to a quantum-based internet.”

Stephanie Wehner, Roadmap Leader Quantum Internet and Networked Computing at QuTech, explains that the agreement is an important milestone towards building the first quantum network in the Netherlands. This network, based on quantum entanglement, will connect multiple Dutch cities in a rudimentary quantum network. “The collaboration with KPN forms an essential step in bringing quantum technology closer to our ultimate dream, namely that anyone in Europe – and ultimately the world - can themselves make use of a quantum internet,” says Wehner.

“Our cooperation on forging the initial links will hopefully lead to a more secure and innovative post quantum future since the arrival of quantum computers will ultimately render much of today's encryption unsafe. Improving online safety is a top priority for KPN and this cooperation paves the way to deliver a new, quantum-based internet,” said Jaya Baloo, CISO and Quantum Ambassador at KPN.

Several EU Member States recently signed a declaration to work together on a space-based and terrestrial infrastructure for quantum communication. Freeke Heijman, liaison to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, emphasizes: “The collaboration between KPN and QuTech ensures that the Netherlands will play a significant role in this developing ecosystem.”

KPN is the leading telecom operator in The Netherlands. KPN believes in the power of connection since almost one hundred and fifty years. In 1881, KPN started to build the national public telephone network in The Netherlands and first introduced the country to the miracle of telecommunications. It was the basis for today's widespread KPN network throughout the country. Today, KPN is building the Dutch digital highway of the future, rolling out fiber to more than 1 million households in the period 2019-2021 and upgrading its mobile network to make it ready for 5G, the next generation of mobile technology.

QuTech is the advanced research center for Quantum Computing and Quantum Internet, a collaboration founded in 2014 by Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO). In 2015, QuTech passed an important milestone towards a rudimentary multi-node quantum internet in The Netherlands: the first “loophole-free Bell test”. In a loophole-free Bell test two remote systems – in our case 1.3 kilometers apart – show correlations that defy any explanation through classical physics. QuTech also leads the European Quantum Internet Alliance in the EU Flagship on Quantum Technologies.

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