China's quantum communications network almost ready

China has almost completed the installation of the world's largest quantum communications network. The network, stretching 2,000 kilometres from Beijing to Shanghai, is considered unhackable, scientists working on the project have said.

Quantum communications network allows data to be transferred at the speed of light, and by using polarized photons as means of encryption, it would be impossible to intercept or eavesdrop on conversations.

According to a report by the IB Times, something like that would be impossible, and the eavesdropper would be revealed by “virtue of the laws of quantum mechanics”.

The South China Morning Post said the goal is to have this network stretching worldwide by 2030. This would also make the country the first major power to release a detailed schedule to put this technology to large-scale use.

The first time we’ve heard of the Chinese quantum communications network was two years ago, when first reports of the experiments started emerging. Back in June 2013, Jian-Wei Pan at the University of Science and Technology of China in Shanghai and his colleagues managed to bounce single photons off an orbiting satellite and detect them back on Earth.

Japan, Canada and Europe are all looking to launch their own quantum communication satellite projects, meaning next year could be a huge jump in the quantum communications efforts.

Although the Chinese government has not revealed the projects budget, scientists told state media that the construction cost would be ¥100m (£10.17m) for every 10,000 users, according to the South China Morning Post.