One of the goals of The Quilt is to provide advanced network services at a lower cost. Toward this goal, the coalition of Quilt members and Authorized Quilt Buyers purchase Commodity Internet Services (CIS) through several approved CIS providers who participate in the program.Quilt Community collectively purchases 335 Gbps of committed commodity bandwidth from Quilt approved providers established from The Quilt’s 7th RFP effort in 2014.
The Quilt’s Commodity Internet Service RFP Process
Through the RFP process, our goal is to identify those providers who, through their IP transit Internet service offerings, are willing and able to be partners in the delivery and development of our research and education networks through the United States. We will look to our approved commodity Internet services providers for pricing discounts appropriate to our levels of bandwidth consumption. We seek provider partners who are not only able to provide the best value, but are also at the forefront of technology and are willing to work closely with Quilt members to develop and expand technology beyond that of a standard provider-customer relationship.
The Quilt’s 2014 Commodity RFP Information
|RFP Release||January 13, 2014|
|Non-Binding Letter of Intent to Respond Due||January 21, 2014|
|Pre-RFP Q&A Conference Call 3:00 pm EST
1-877-643-6951 – Passcode 62508556#
|January 31, 2014|
|Pre-RFP Q&A Conference Call 3:00 pm EST
1-877-643-6951 – Passcode 62508556#
|February 3, 2014|
|Due Date for CIS RFP Submission to The Quilt (11:59 pm EST)||February 21, 2014|
|CIS RFP Semi-Finalists Selected and Invited for Presentations||March 17, 2014|
|CIS RFP Semi-Finalist Presentations in Denver, CO – Travel Information TBA||April 3-4, 2014|
|Providers Selected to be CIS Authorized Quilt Provider (AQP)||April 14, 2014|
|CIS Master Services Agreement Signed||Week of May 26, 2014|
|CIS AQP Now Authorized to Sell Under Quilt Pricing Agreement||Upon MSA execution|
2014 CIS RFP Documents
The three components of the RFP are available below as of January 13, 2014:
- Letter from the President and CEO with CIS RFP Overview Document (MS Doc)
- CIS RFP Essay (MS Doc)
- Quilt Participant PoP Locations (MS Excel)
Summary of The Quilt’s CIS RFP Question and Answer Sessions
January 31, 2014 & February 3, 2014
- Q: Will The Quilt sign an NDA?
A: As a rule, The Quilt does not sign NDA’s for the information provided by vendors as part of the RFP process. Due to the consortium nature of our buying agreement, we do not have any way to enforce an NDA signed by The Quilt. All information provided by vendors will be kept confidential and proprietary in The Quilt. In the history of our RFP, the last 5 cycles, we have had no issues with regards to maintaining the confidentiality of the information that is provided.
- Q: May we offer as an option, other complementary products and services that would assist Quilt membership? If so, is there some limit on products or services offered?
A: Products and services beyond what is specified in the RFP will not be a part of the RFP evaluation criteria. The Quilt may, at its option, agree to language in a MSA that includes optional complementary products and services.
- Q: As part of a complementary offering, would The Quilt consider or be interested in services above Ethernet such as dark fiber or wave services ?
A: Yes, those would be considered complementary and you can beAs mentioned previously, products and services beyond those specified in the RFP will not be part of the RFP evaluation criteria.
- Q: In the past, summer rate reduction programs offerings were included as part of the RFP, this appears to be absent for the 2014 RFP. Can you please confirm that we haven’t missed it in the RFP documents?
A: Summer Rate Reduction programs are not included as part of this RFP. Any reference to a summer rate reduction program in the documents is in error.
- Q: For the optional section requesting information on bundled pricing for commodity internet service and internet access to off-net locations, would it be acceptable to list individual case basis (ICB) pricing since service is site specific?
A: It is better to receive hard costs whereIf hard costs are available only for a specific set of site criteria then that should be listed in a response.
- Q: Would it be acceptable to state a minimum commit level for the option to provide bundled pricing for commodity internet service and last mile pricing?
Yes, that would beThe Quilt is open to type of pricing structure as long as it includes hard costs.
- Q: Where will the semi-finalist meeting presentations take place in April?
These meetings will be held April 3-4, 2014 at a hotel near the Denver International Airport in Denver, Colorado. Providers will be notified no later than March 17, 2014 regarding their participation in the meeting.
- Q: Historically what are the key differentiators between those vendors that are selected to be part of the program and those that were not?
A: There is a set of criteria the reviewers look at and are weighted as part of the evaluation process. Since The Quilt is a national program, we are looking for those providers that can cover a significant national footprint and demonstrate a willingness to work with the research and educational community in the manner in which it utilizes this type ofSelected vendors also demonstrate a commitment to the Quilt program and support for the consortium buying model.
- Q: Are there any Quilt member and Authorized Quilt Buyers with commodity internet service needs outside the United States?
A: At this time we are looking at U.S. sites as part of the response evaluation but responses to the RFP questions regarding international connections and network design are important. Additional questions regarding international presence and network capabilities will be asked in the semi-finalist round of the selection process.
- Q: Is the selection of providers for the program based solely on price or is consideration also given for network quality?
A: Provider selection is based on a number of criteria including network quality as well as price. Given the missions of the research and education networks to serve the unique needs of the higher education institutions in the U.S., network quality and value of the service received is critically important.
- Q: Would you consider a response that is a joint partnership from multiple vendors?
A: The Quilt is open to this type of solution as long as there is a single entity that would execute the contract and own the relationship. In addition, commodity internet bandwidth purchased under the agreement would need to be able to be combined into a single aggregate purchase that can be reported under the program for the partnership.
- Q: Today the number of Authorized Quilt Providers is 6. Will there be 6 or more providers going forward?
A: No, there is no set number or quota for the number of Authorized Quilt Providers selected out of the RFP effort.
- Q: Will the Quilt make available the Master Service Agreements with its current list of Providers?
A: Within the contents of RFP overview document, there is a sample master service agreement. This provides an idea of what the current provider agreements look like. The details of the executed agreements with the current Authorized Quilt Providers will not be made available.
- Q: How long is the term for the purchase contract?
A: The term of the contract is for one year. If there is a change during that time, or a further discount beyond the MSA price is offered to a buyer, than all other Authorized Quilt Buyers will be offered that same price. Please see the top of page 7 under Some Common Questions About Being an Authorized Quilt Provider in the Overview Document
- Q: Who manages the Authorized Quilt Buyers List?
A: It is managed by Quilt staff on behalf of Quilt Members. There are over 250 educational institutions listed on our current Authorized Quilt Buyers list. As updates are made to this list, our Authorized Quilt Providers receive an updated copy.
- Q: What are the requirements in becoming a Quilt Authorized Buyer particularly in how it relates to the providers ultimate risk in controlling the list so it doesn’t become a market rate?
A: Quilt Members serve educational and research institutions within a given geographic territory. Because they have specific connected institutions to their network, those institutions may show up as part of the AQB list. It is intended for educational institutions and other non-profit s that are similarly missioned in support of education and research.
- Q: It is stated in the RFP documents that The Quilt doesn’t make any volume commitment as part of the RFP process. Is this still the case?
A: Yes, it is still the case today. The Quilt makes no volume commitment as part of the RFP process.
- Q: How does The Quilt assist an Authorized Quilt Provider in marketing to the Authorized Quilt Buyers?
A: Once the MSA is signed, the Quilt creates a webpage for the provider on the private side of the Quilt Website. Provider announcements are distributed as available to Quilt members. Typically our Quilt member meeting that is held after the completion of the Master Service Agreements, providers are invited to sponsor a dinner event to meet with members and distribute marketing material as desired. The Quilt’s provider liaison acts as a communication conduit and point of contact for provider support as well. The best outreach to our members comes through the opportunity to announce that bandwidth has grown to a point that a new pricing tier has been reached.
- Q: How does a vendor show access pricing if demarcation locations are unknown?
A: Within the RFP documents there is a PoP spreadsheet. We do not as for specific pricing, but do ask for information on what additional types of charges would apply at a specific location, i.e. cross-connects fees and backhaul charges.
- Q: For organizations or institutions with a pre-existing contract in place with a provider ahead of that provider’s selection to the program, how will prior contracts for Authorized Quilt Buyers transition over under a new MSA?
A: Once a provider is selected to be a part of our CIS program as an Authorized Provider, The Quilt liaison will work directly with the provider to help negotiate the most appropriate transition for these contracts on an individual case basis. This transition will depend on the individual terms of an impacted contract.
- Q: Are the Q&A calls the only venue for questions?
A: For further questions, you make contact Cas D’Angelo who is chair of this year’s RFP effort. Contact information is available in the RFP documents. To the extent possible, responses will be provided to these questions. Further, these questions will be generalized and posted to this list so others will have the opportunity to view.
Where & When to Submit your CIS RFP, and Quilt Contact
Items 2 and 3 along with any materials requested in these documents must be completed and returned to the Quilt by February 21, 2014 by 11:59 pm Eastern Time. This set of materials will comprise a vendor’s response to this RFP. All RFP submissions are to be uploaded by the Provider to an individual and secure Provider Page maintained by The Quilt through its Basecamp hub. Access information and submission hub use instructions will be forwarded under separate cover to individual respondents upon receipt of a non-binding Letter of Intent to Respond. If you did not receive the hub instructions or your password information, please contact Jennifer Griffin at email@example.com.
RFP Documents must be in a .pdf or Microsoft Office software format. This is the only format in which RFP documents will be accepted.
If you have any questions regarding the documents or RFP process, please contact Cas D’Angelo at firstname.lastname@example.org or (404) 894-1356.