On the 15th of July, the 1st segment of the European quantum communication network in Portugal, called PTQCI, was awarded by the European Commission to a consortium involving Altice Labs, within the scope of the first call for proposals of the Digital European Programme.
PTQCI will lay the foundation of the national component of the future European Quantum Communication Infrastructure (EuroQCI). The goal is to implement the first ultra-secure quantum communication infrastructure at a national level, through terrestrial links, but it also intends to prepare the space link, using technologies such as Quantum Key Distribution (QKD).
Altice Labs is a key partner in the development of PTQCI due to its competence and know-how in the area of Software Defined Networks (SDN). It will have responsibilities in defining, implementing and testing a robust, resilient and flexible network solution.
The project consortium, led by Deimos Engenharia, is composed of the most relevant Portuguese public and private organizations in telecommunications and security technologies: National Security Office, Deimos Engenharia, IP TELECOM, Altice Labs, Telecommunications Institute, Institute of Systems and Computer Engineering – Research and Development, Adyta, Instituto Superior Técnico, Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, Warpcom, Omnidea, Instituto Superior de Engenharia de Lisboa, Instituto Português da Qualidade and Portuguese Quantum Institute.
PTQCI is based on DISCRETION, a project launched in December 2021, in which Altice Labs also participates, and which aims at developing quantum communications for Defense. DISCRETION is already deploying a resilient network over existing fiber optic infrastructures in Portugal, connecting different public bodies in the Lisbon metropolitan area, and also a network of test beds involving academic and private stakeholders. One of the QKD nodes to be developed in DISCRETION will also be deployed in the PTQCI network.
Francisco Fontes, senior consultant at Altice Labs, states that “As quantum communication is an area where Altice Portugal is betting, it is an opportunity for Altice Labs to contribute to the development of products and services in this domain, bringing its expertise in telecommunications networks to the context of a consortium of leading entities and to a project of such strategic importance for national and european security”.
This project foresees several phases of implementation, and should be completed by 2026.