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BNET Uses AWS to Launch Broadband Network, Cut Costs, and Gain Network Insights

2021

BNET (Bahrain Network) is a Bahrain-based telecommunications company and the national broadband network that connects the Kingdom of Bahrain through fiber-optic infrastructure. BNET’s goal is to roll out fiber infrastructure to all licensed telecommunications operators and internet service providers in Bahrain, as well as in 95 percent of all households across the Kingdom, in an effort to enhance national broadband connectivity.

“We believe strategic governance is key to our success, guided by a carefully crafted strategy,” says Mohamed Bubashait, chief executive officer of BNET. “Our strategy cascades from top down and is embedded in all our employees’ objectives. This ensures everyone at BNET is continuously engaged and invested in their roles towards achieving the company’s overall vision and helps us follow an institutionalized approach to executing our plans.”

BNET’s launch back in 2019 played a crucial part in the implementation of the fourth National Telecommunication Plan (NTP4), especially in relation to fostering digital growth through enabling the development of innovative digital services in Bahrain. BNET’s vision centers on creating a technologically-advanced digital communication infrastructure that enables a safe, secure, and smart Kingdom, contributing to Bahrain’s economic growth and consumer welfare. A core part of BNET’s strategy is to continuously introduce and utilize innovative technologies in its daily operations to ensure high efficiency and effectiveness. This made building its IT systems on the cloud an obvious choice for BNET.

Abstract network background. Global Communications technology
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By running our business applications on AWS, we have the agility and scalability to not only become an independent business, but also grow that business quickly.”

Salah Abdulrahim
Chief Technical Officer, BNET

Seeking to Quickly Separate from a Parent Company

In late 2019, as BNET prepared to separate from its parent company, Batelco, it needed to migrate business-critical and historical data into new applications quickly in a new IT environment. Specifically, the company needed to move its business support system (BSS) and operations support system (OSS), which customers access through an API layer. “We had to migrate all IT functions and services from Batelco to a new system within a year,” says Salah Abdulrahim, chief technical officer for BNET.

The company also had to meet compliance standards with security and data privacy regulations mandated by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) of the Kingdom of Bahrain. “We had milestones to reach, including individual deadlines for access control separation, platform separation, and physical separation from Batelco,” says Bubashait. “To meet these requirements, we knew we needed more agility and scalability than we could get from an on-premises solution. We had to move to the cloud.”

Building an Application Environment on AWS

After a short evaluation period, BNET selected Amazon Web Services (AWS) as its cloud service provider. “We want to leverage cloud technology and deploy as much as we can in the cloud because of the speed, time-to-market, cost optimization, flexibility, scalability, and agility benefits. AWS was the right solution to deliver business value quickly,” says Abdulrahim. BNET engaged with strategic partners such as eBahrain Information Technology (Ebit), which provides BNET with professional experts, and BearingPoint//Beyond, an Advanced Consulting Partner in the AWS Partner Network (APN), to assist in creating a new cloud environment for the company’s BSS and OSS applications, including a business-critical billing solution. “We chose BearingPoint//Beyond because its solution was adapted from the TM Forum Frameworx, which are the basis for our business requirements and ready for the cloud,” says Abdulrahim. “Also, our approach is zero customization because we trust our partners’ best practices industry standards and expertise.”
 
BNET worked closely with Ebit and BearingPoint//Beyond to build a new IT environment for the company’s BSS and OSS applications that power the national fiber network. The applications run on a multi-account AWS Landing Zone, a governed environment designed to enhance security. BearingPoint//Beyond then extended connectivity to the Batelco data center using AWS Direct Connect.

Additionally, BNET uses Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) for MySQL for customer data, and it takes advantage of cloud-native services including AWS Lambda, Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS), Amazon API Gateway, and Amazon Elasticsearch Service.

Using the new, automated, “zero touch” solution, BNET customers—telecommunications operators and retailers—can provision compute capacity on demand and launch service-billing applications. “With these capabilities, end users can launch a broadband application service and the fulfillment, assurance, and billing do not require any manual intervention,” Abdulrahim says.

Launching a Telecommunications Company in 1 Year

Working with its strategic partners Ebit and BearingPoint//Beyond to migrate to the cloud, BNET was able to separate from Batelco and launch its BSS and OSS in 8 months because of the agility and flexibility of AWS. “It would have taken us much longer to separate from our parent company and create a new environment if we were using a conventional data center and procuring and installing hardware,” says Abdulrahim. “By running our business applications on AWS, we have the agility and scalability to not only become an independent business, but also grow that business quickly.”

Ensuring Compliance with TRA Regulations

The company saved time by automating the creation of an environment for running secure and scalable workloads while implementing an initial security baseline by constructing core accounts and resources. “Security and compliance are critical for any telecommunications service provider,” says Abdulrahim. “Using AWS best practices and the security capabilities of AWS, we can comply with TRA requirements and take advantage of built-in security for our deployments. In addition, working closely with BearingPoint//Beyond, we are providing more access control capabilities.”

Driving Down Costs and Investing in Innovation

BNET is also reducing its total cost of ownership by running its business on AWS. “If we would have used an on-premises approach to launch our business, we would have spent a lot of money buying an environment and all the hardware. There would be a huge upfront cost. With AWS, there is almost zero capital investment, and we only pay for the capacity and storage we use so we can reduce our IT costs,” says Abdulrahim.

In addition, rather than spending time managing backend systems, the company can focus more on launching new projects and features. “We can be more innovative as a company because we’re not focusing on hardware and IT management,” says Bubashait. “For example, we are building a new data lake on AWS to help us gain full visibility and real-time network insights across all signal towers, network hubs, and fixed-line broadband and phone networks.”

Delivering Reliable Services to More than One Million People

The organization can also provide high availability for the services it delivers to more than one million customers across Bahrain. “As a service provider, our systems must be resilient and reliable at all times,” says Abdulrahim. “By using AWS, we can connect to multiple Availability Zones, so we know our customers always have dependable access to our services.”

As BNET continues to evolve, it is expanding its AWS implementation to support SAP S/4HANA and enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions. “BNET was born on the AWS Cloud, and we have already experienced faster time-to-market, agility, reliability, and security benefits,” says Abdulrahim. “We look forward to growing our business on AWS.”

About BNET

BNET is the national broadband network for the Kingdom of Bahrain, providing network connectivity through ultra-fast, fiber-optic infrastructure. The company’s vision is to create an advanced digital communication infrastructure that helps create a safe, secure, and smart kingdom and contributes to economic growth and consumer welfare.

Benefits of AWS

  • Launches new broadband network in 1 year
  • Meets compliance with telecommunications regulations
  • Invests more in innovative products and new features
  • Gains visibility into signal towers, network hubs, and fixed-line broadband and phone networks


AWS Services Used

AWS Lambda

AWS Lambda is a serverless compute service that lets you run code without provisioning or managing servers, creating workload-aware cluster scaling logic, maintaining event integrations, or managing runtimes.

Learn more »

AWS Landing Zone

AWS Landing Zone is a solution that helps customers more quickly set up a secure, multi-account AWS environment based on AWS best practices.

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Amazon RDS for MySQL

MySQL is the world's most popular open source relational database and Amazon RDS makes it easy to set up, operate, and scale MySQL deployments in the cloud.

Learn more »


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