Thirteen photonics research projects to accelerate high-speed broadband

The European Commission presented thirteen photonics research projects in the field of high-speed fibre broadband networks with the aim of developing technologies to give every Europeans access to fast and ultra fast broadband by 2020.

The projects were jointly selected in 2010 by the European Commission, Austria, Germany, Poland, the United Kingdom and Israel, who are together paying a total of €22.3 million towards them. The research projects will run for two to three years and they have as main goal, together with to accelerate high-speed broadband, to boost investment in European information and communications technology research, which are key objectives of the Digital Agenda for Europe.

Photonics is a strategic technology driving innovation in many sectors, such as communications (including super fast internet access), lighting and medical applications. The objective of all projects is to develop technology to give customers a faster service at no extra cost. In order to reach such goal, the research projects all focus on how components (e.g. transceivers, amplifiers and routers) and IT systems can deliver speeds of 1Gigabit/second and above to the subscriber at home while reducing the operational cost for ultra-fast broadband.

The thirteen individual research projects constitute the Piano+ initiative, which is an ERANET+ project and part of the European Commission's 7th Research Framework Programme (FP7). The Commission contributes one third of the funding of the projects and national funding agencies cover the rest. Thanks to the joint approach, the participating countries can develop high speed optical broadband networks much faster, as joint efforts can generate a critical mass for market-uptake more efficiently.