Thirteen photonics research projects are being launched in the field of high-speed fibre broadband networks with the aim of developing technologies to deliver super fast internet speeds to the home in excess of 1 Gigabit per second. 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. Giving every European access to fast and ultra fast broadband by 2020 and boosting investment in European information and communications technology research are key objectives of the Digital Agenda for Europe. Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda said: “I’m very happy that research on technology relevant to delivering super fast Internet speeds to the homes and businesses of 500 million Europeans is taking off. Such technology could have a crucial role to play in meeting Europe’s broadband needs far into the future.” 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 objective is therefore to develop technology to give customers a faster service at no extra cost. The Commission contributes one third of the funding of the projects and national funding agencies cover the rest. The joint approach enables participating countries to develop high speed optical broadband networks much faster, as joint efforts can generate a critical mass for market-uptake more efficiently. 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). Here to read more.