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Oct. 26, 2018 11:58 am

Nation’s first ‘quantum-secured network’ takes major step forward

A partnership between Quantum Xchange and Zayo Group will lead the way to a secure connection running all the way from Boston to Washington, D.C.

Fiber.

(Photo by Flickr user Arild Nybø, used under a Creative Commons license)

Quantum Xchange has been working to apply quantum mechanics to cybersecurity efforts for commercial enterprises and government agencies. After announcing a $10 million funding round earlier this year led by Boston-based New Technology Ventures, the company has selected a group to deploy its first fiber network.

What is a quantum-secured network and why is it important, you ask? In June, Quantum Xchange created a fiberoptic network called Phio to transmit and receive quantum cryptographic keys between entities that are securely transferring critical data. The company is able to achieve this through a secure communication method called Quantum Key Distribution (QKD), that allows two parties to create a secret key only known to them that can then be used to encrypt and decrypt messages.

Quantum computing is still in its early days but Quantum Xchange wants to get ahead of the curve by using quantum computing to secure data from cyber attacks, and this new partnership is one step closer to doing that.

OK, back to the news of the day.

Quantum Xchange selected Zayo Group, a communications infrastructure provider, as its first strategic partner. The agreement will provide access to almost 500 miles of fiber along the eastern seaboard, which will be used to activate the initial leg of the nation’s first quantum network.

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Zayo Group is providing Quantum Xchange with access to 800 kilometers of existing optical fiber that spans from Boston to Washington, D.C., to deploy the first QKD network in the U.S., according to a press release.

“With high capacity, low latency and inherent security, Zayo’s dark fiber infrastructure is ideal for the nation’s first QKD network,” Jack Waters, CTO and president of fiber solutions at Zayo Group, said in a statement. “We look forward to working with Quantum Xchange on this groundbreaking initiative.”

The companies say the first leg of the fiber optic network will be operational and accepting customers this fall.

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