Chattanooga energy and connectivity organisation EPB is joining forces with tech company Qubitekk to launch what claims to be America’s first industry-led, commercially available quantum network.
It is designed for government and university researchers, as well as private companies, to run quantum equipment and applications in an established fibre optic environment.
EPB Quantum NetworkSM is a quantum-as-a-service offering that will provide quantum technologists with fibre optic infrastructure that integrates the latest foundational quantum equipment and software to accelerate their process for bringing quantum technologies to market.
Quantum technologies represent a new frontier to exponentially advance cybersecurity, sensing and next generation computing. The organisations said this holds the promise for revolutionary benefits in protecting people from cyberthreats, launching a next generation internet and developing new advancements in healthcare, finance and other industries.
“EPB Quantum Network will once again position Chattanooga as an innovative leader in an emerging sector that will be vital to our national economy in the months and years ahead”
“In Chattanooga, EPB’s unparalleled community-wide fibre optic network has already helped generate nearly $2.7bn in economic benefits – including more than 9,500 jobs – since it was completed more than a decade ago,” said Chattanooga mayor Tim Kelly. “Plain and simple, EPB is one of Chattanooga’s greatest competitive advantages, and we have a real opportunity to build on that success. EPB Quantum Network will once again position Chattanooga as an innovative leader in an emerging sector that will be vital to our national economy in the months and years ahead.”
EPB board chair Vicky Gregg described how the project addresses a critical national priority while also aligning with EPB’s commitment to economic development in the Chattanooga area it serves. “With the growing global focus on the potential for quantum technologies to solve problems that would require decades of conventional computer processing, both US companies and the federal government are investing billions of dollars in this emerging sector,” she said.
“EPB Quantum Network gives Chattanooga the opportunity to attract new investment while accelerating breakthroughs that could make a real difference for our community and the nation as a whole.”
Quantum-based communications reproduce a naturally occurring phenomenon in which a pair of light particles (photons) can be linked or “entangled” such that any change in one of the photons is instantaneously mirrored by its twin even when they are separated by great distances.
David Wade, EPB president and CEO, likened the establishment of EPB Quantum Network to the deployment of Chattanooga’s fibre optic network and the launch of America’s first community-wide Gig-speed internet service. “When EPB announced ‘The Gig,’ everyone was asking what do you do with that much internet speed?” he said.
“Since then, Gig-speed internet has served as a platform for innovation in opening up new opportunities for increased productivity, remote work, education, telehealth, entertainment and more. EPB Quantum Network is our step in opening up new vistas of possibility.”
EPB’s primary partner in the project is Qubitekk, one of America’s leaders in designing, building and integrating the components for quantum networks, a precursor to the future development of the quantum-enabled internet. EPB Quantum Network is equipped with Qubitekk’s Bohr IV, a proprietary quantum networking system that generates, transmits and measures qubits.
“If US companies and researchers continue to develop quantum technologies in isolation, they face barriers such as the cost and time necessary to put together an end-to-end solution instead of focusing on their particular piece of the puzzle,” said Dr Duncan Earl, president and CTO of Qubitekk.
“EPB Quantum Network gives Chattanooga the opportunity to attract new investment while accelerating breakthroughs that could make a real difference for our community and the nation as a whole”
“EPB Quantum Network powered by Qubitekk is purpose-built infrastructure that allows quantum technologists to run their solution collaboratively with other technologies while retaining their proprietary data and intellectual property.”
The foundation for EPB Quantum Network builds on an R&D 100 award-winning effort that began more than five years ago. With US Department of Energy funding aimed at securing America’s electric grid against cyberthreats, EPB, Qubitekk, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory partnered in 2021 to run quantum encryption technologies across real-world fiber optic loops that EPB established between some of its electric substations.
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