This year, Portugal will begin to take its first steps towards the creation of the national quantum network, which will ensure the security of communications in the national space, with the installation of four ‘nodes’ in Lisbon.
Armando Nolasco Pinto, the coordinator of the quantum optical communications group at the Aveiro Telecommunications Institute (IT), told news agency Lusa.
“It is true that there have been delays, but we are with a very interesting dynamic (…). The project will start now and within three years we intend to have these four ‘nodes’ installed.”
The researcher spoke on the sidelines of the opening of “Quantum Tech Day,” which took place today at IT-Aveiro, with the presence of the Secretary of State for Digitalisation and Administrative Modernisation, Mário Campolargo.
The implementation of the national quantum network comes within the framework of the PTQCI project, worth 6.8 million euros, which is led by the National Security Office (GNS), and has the contribution of IT-Aveiro in the design and implementation of quantum ‘nodes’ (interconnection points) that will be linked with cipher machines in the structuring of the network.
Quantum physics-based communications systems ensure the transmission of encrypted data without interception, as any decryption attempts outside the intended final destination make the transmitted data unintelligible.
Armando Nolasco Pinto clarified that the future quantum national network will focus on information security. “We are talking about a government network that will be used, at least in a first phase, essentially to support some of the state’s communications,” he said.
The researcher explained that there will be a central ‘node’ in the National Security Office and three more access points in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Staff of the Armed Forces and Communications Centre, Data and Cipher of the Navy.
In a second phase, the network will be extended to the different district capitals and also to the islands, and then to the other European countries, starting with Spain.
The researcher also said that next year the European Union will open applications for the allocation of support for the interconnection of networks of different countries, stressing the importance of Portugal being “well positioned” to take advantage of these incentives.
“The idea is that Portugal creates a quantum network at a European level that guarantees the security of communications in Europe and national air space,” he concluded.
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