Qatar’s National Broadband Network, Qnbn, is deploying a passive dark fiber network infrastructure across the country. They also provide equal and open access to service providers and private network operators enabling provision of high speed fiber connectivity to end users. Ahmed Al-Sulaiti, CEO, Qatar National Broadband Network spoke today at the LeadersIn Broadband Summit at Broadband World Forum 2017, about Qnbn’s goals and achievements in this deployment.
“We started nbn looking to avoid any duplication in operator and we know that we can provide a shareable network for all,” said Al-Sulaiti. “We deployed a very secure network, back to back with stakeholders and developed a network footprint which is dependable and secure. We started by providing a network for security; Vodafone were entering the country at the time and we listened to them so that the network met their needs as well.” The focus was on security “because of this era of globalisation and the need to avoid any cyber weaknesses and attacks in the network.”
An interesting point about Qnbn’s broadband network deployment is that they created a separate network for government bodies. The reason for this, Al-Sulaiti said was that, “There is a difference between the needs of a commercial network and what the government needs for their own network. We provided their network with everything they needed and ensured no department within the government needed to deploy any fiber optics themselves. All departments are using the shareable Unified Government Network (UGN). It is a unique network and I don’t think any country has done this before.”
This has proved cost effective and, according Al-Sulaiti, has saved Qatar around $300M over the last 2 years because Qnbn deploys one network to serve all rather than different government networks deploying their own.
“We are providing a very highly efficient model because the network is shareable, we have rationalised infrastructure and helped telecom companies reduce their time to market.”
The solutions Qnbn provides are being used in projects across the country. For example, Qatar’s new metro project will be using Qnbn’s existing network from the beginning and Qnbn will be deploying any new fiber they require. They are also currently connecting Qatar’s stadiums prior to the 2022 FIFA World Cup and Al-Sulaiti said “We will be ready and even ahead of schedule for the World Cup. It will have a very highly secure network during the event.”
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