Brussels to pay €1m for a study on Quantum Communication Infrastructure

Call for: Assessing the user needs of a Quantum Communication Infrastructure – A STUDY

Contracting Authority: European Commission, DG CONNECT (Communications Networks, Content and Technology)

The closing date: 4 Nov 2019 at 15:00.

DG CONNECT intends to award two contracts, provided that at least two tenders are compliant with the tender specifications and have reached the minimum thresholds set out for award criteria. Each of the two selected tender will be awarded a maximum of €1.000.000 each.

The study aims to boost European capabilities in quantum technologies, cybersecurity and industrial competitiveness. The requested study will have to provide the European Commission and Member States with a user needs assessment and comparative study of options for the overarching system architecture of the QCI, including the terrestrial and space segments.

The study should explore relevant use cases that a pan European QCI system could cover, from a public sector perspective in the following domains:

Inter and intra EU government communications – Government communications and data require the highest level of security. Both the security of voice and data communications exchanges between governmental services in a Member States, between Member States and EU institutions, as well as the long-term secure storage and protection of sensitive government data against intercept-now-decrypt-later attacks must be considered. 

Data centres – Within QCI, a secured Data Centres (DC) Interconnection is composed of pairs of DCs that exchange data using quantum secured communications. More data centres can be interconnected, realising a so-called secured data lake. Deploying a secured DC interconnection at intra-metropolitan scale creates a secured ecosystem where independent operators can share their contents stored in different data centres, preserving the highest security level. Secured interconnection of DCs at longer distances (inter-metropolitan scale) ensures secured disaster recovery. Each DC would implement their storage using quantum keys.

Critical infrastructure – Cyber-attacks on European critical infrastructure are recognized as a European-level threat in the Network and Information Systems (NIS) Directive which identifies several essential services which are very critical for society and are potentially vulnerable to digital attack: energy, digital services, air transport, banks, water supply and healthcare. Priority sectors in the Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Directive are energy and transport, including rail transport, that could also be considered for QCI. For all the infrastructure-related use cases, the QCI should guarantee the authentication of the entity requiring access, and the confidentiality and integrity of the data being exchanged and stored.