Bury St Edmunds is home to a repeater for the UK;s First practical quantum-secured high-speed fibre network.

BT has built the network between Cambridge and the BT Labs in Adastral Park, Ipswich

The fibre runs from Cambridge via quantum ‘repeater stations’ at Bury St Edmunds and Newmarket before making its way to the BT Labs in less than a thousandth of a second.

The network link, which is capable of transferring 500Gbps of data, is also said to be virtually “un-hackable”.

The link is a joint initiative of BT and the Quantum Communications Hub, led by the University of York – one of four Hubs in the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme. The Hub is a collaboration between eight UK universities, private companies, and public sector stakeholders that have common interests in the exploitation quantum physics for the development of secure communications technologies and services.

Professor Tim Spiller, Director of the EPSRC Quantum Communications Hub said: “We know that QKD technology works. The importance of this network is the demonstration of its operation to potential end users and customers in a practical network environment, in order to stimulate market pull.”

Professor Ian White, Head of Photonics Research at the University of Cambridge said: “This quantum-secured network is an excellent example of the large scale collaborative research that is feasible because of the creation of the UK’s Quantum Communications Hub. The network will allow detailed analysis of the potential for this new technology to enhance security in advanced communication networks.”

Professor Tim Whitley, BT’s Managing Director of Research & Innovation said: “With the huge growth in cyber-attacks across the UK, it’s more important than ever before that we continue to develop ways to protect the most critical data.

“BT has a long history of pioneering innovation so I’m delighted that we’re able to announce this major breakthrough in the field of quantum communications. This is a brilliant example of how academia and business can work together to develop ultra-secure networks to give us the confidence we need in our future digital economy.”