A project to build a 100Gbps internet network in order to deal with an 'explosion' in big data has been unveiled by the European Commission.

The EC has joined forces with Japan to invest 18 million (£15.5 million) in six research projects aimed at increasing the efficiency of internet network technologies. The EC points out that there are currently 1.7 million billion bytes of data generated each minute, and if global networks are going to cope with these volumes multiplying 18-fold by 2018 there will need to be signifcant bandwidth increases.

One of the projects, Strauss, plans to develop fibre optic networks at speeds greater than 100Gbps, and would mean providing speeds 5,000 times greater than the average Euroepan broadband connection of 19.7 Mbps. The project aims to design and implement an "advanced optical Ethernet transport architecture", which the researchers say leverages software defined networking principles.

Other projects to receive funding will include MiWEBA, aimed at handling capacity increases by making better use of existing radio frequencies in order to boost ultra-high speed and mobile connections, and NECOMA, which will explore ways to enhance personal data security and evaluate the threat of cyber attacks for sensitive information such as medical history records.

Commenting on the project European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes said: "Our Future Internet should know no barriers, least of all barriers created because we did not prepare for the data revolution."

The funding project will bring the EC together with Japanese government organisations and universities, as well as the R&D facilities of industry players such as Orange, Telefonica, NEC, Panasonic, NTT, KDDI, ADVA, STMicroelectronics and Intel.