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EPB Launches Commercially Available Quantum Computing Network

EPB in Chattanooga, Tenn., and Qubitekk have joined forces to launch a commercially available quantum computing network.

Based on the principles of quantum mechanics, quantum computers consist of quantum bits, or qubits, that can encode exponentially more information than bits used in conventional computers, enabling them to solve problems too difficult even for supercomputers.

“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,” Vicky Gregg, EPB board chair, said in a statement. “With the growing global focus on the potential for quantum technologies to solve problems that would require decades of conventional computer processing, both U.S. companies and the federal government are investing billions of dollars in this emerging sector,” she said.

EPB, the public power utility that provides electric distribution and telecommunications to Chattanooga, in September 2010 launched a community-wide gigabit speed internet service, earning Chattanooga a reputation as the “Gig City.” This September, EPB launched the nation’s first community-wide 25 gigabits per second internet service available to all residential and commercial customers.

The utility is now offering its EPB Quantum Network as a service that will provide quantum technologists with fiber optic infrastructure that integrates the latest foundational quantum equipment and software to accelerate the process for bringing quantum technologies to market.

EPB said its Quantum Network is based on work it did more than five years ago with Department of Energy funds that was aimed at securing the nation’s electric grid against cyberthreats.

In 2021, EPB, Qubitekk, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory partnered to run quantum encryption technologies across real-world fiber optic loops that EPB established between some of its electric substations.

EPB and Qubitekk are now using the EPB Quantum Network to share quantum states between two Quantum Equipment Hubs over a commercial fiber optic network. By the summer of 2023, the companies said they plan establish additional quantum nodes where subscribers can install their own quantum equipment, allowing private companies, government agencies and academic researchers to use the quantum-as-a-service offering.