New Yorkers traveling in the Holland Tunnel, a vehicular tunnel underneath the Hudson River connecting Lower Manhattan and New Jersey, are now discovering that the next generation of communication technology is being tested right outside their car windows, said Bloomberg.
A technology startup called Quantum Xchange said last Fall it signed a contract giving it exclusive access to 500 miles of fiber-optic cable running along the East Coast to build what it claims will be the nation’s first quantum key distribution (QKD) network. The first span of the system links New York City to New Jersey via the Holland Tunnel will allow financial institutions and government agencies to safely transport information between offices in Manhattan and data centers abroad.
Bloomberg said the QKD approach used by Quantum Xchange works by sending an encoded message in bits while the keys to decode it are sent in the form of quantum bits, or qubits. These packets are sent via photons, which travel through fiber-optic cables. The key to this technology is that any attempt to snoop on a qubit immediately destroys its fragile quantum state, wiping out all data it caries, which basically means this technology is unhackable at the moment.
“Financial firms see this as a differentiator,” says John Prisco, chief executive officer of Quantum Xchange. Prisco says several large financial institutions are testing his fiber pipes, but he declined to tell Bloomberg the names of them, citing nondisclosure agreements.