The Quilt’s 2016 Commodity Internet Service RFP Process

 

The Quilt’s 2016 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 2016 Commodity RFP Schedule

Event Date
RFP Release January 11, 2016
Non-Binding Letter of Intent to Respond Due January 19, 2016
Pre-RFP Q&A Conference Call 3:00 pm EST
1-877-643-6951 – Passcode 62508556#
January 29, 2016
Pre-RFP Q&A Conference Call 3:00 pm EST
1-877-643-6951 – Passcode 62508556#
February 5, 2016
Due Date for CIS RFP Submission to The Quilt (11:59 pm EST) February 19, 2016
CIS RFP Semi-Finalists Selected and Invited for Presentations March 21, 2016
CIS RFP Semi-Finalist Presentations in Denver, CO –
Travel Information TBA
April 6-7, 2016
Providers Selected to be CIS Authorized Quilt Provider (AQP) April 18, 2016
CIS Master Services Agreement Signed Week of May 23, 2016
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 11, 2016:

  1. Letter from the President and CEO with CIS RFP Overview Document (MS Doc)
  2. CIS RFP Essay (MS Doc)
  3. Quilt Participant PoP Locations (MS Excel)

Summary of The Quilt’s CIS RFP Question and Answers from 2016 RFP Cycle that may help in preparing a response for the RFP.

  1. Q: Will The Quilt sign an NDA?
    A: 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 as mentioned previously, products and services beyond those specified in the RFP will not be part of the RFP evaluation criteria.
  4. 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, The Quilt is open to type of pricing structure as long as it includes hard costs.
  5. 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 of service.  Selected vendors also demonstrate a commitment to the Quilt program and support for the consortium buying model.
  6. 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 are critically important.
  7. 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.
  8. Q: Is there a set number of Authorized Quilt Providers that can participate in the Quilt CIS program?
    A: No, there is no set number or quota for the number of Authorized Quilt Providers selected out of the RFP effort.
  9. 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.
  10. 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
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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 ask 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Q: After reviewing the list of Authorized Quilt Buyers,  can you tell us the approximate number of total customer sites that are represented by this list?
    A: The 270 customer peering sites we’re aware of are listed in the quiltrfpjan2016_popsF.xls file.  There are likely additional sites that our Authorized Quilt Buyers have not listed with us, but we don’t have a way to estimate those.
  18. Q: Based on your statement that “there may be no other opportunity for providers to compete for their business”, how many of the AQBs buy IP Transit Internet Services exclusively from The Quilt contract?
    A: There is a significant portion of AQB bandwidth which is purchased by AQBs who work exclusively through the Quilt Contract.  The decision depends on each AQB’s purchasing rules and their willingness to run their own bid process and what competing forces are available in their market.
  19. Q: In the Essay Response Form, Section 2.e. there are 5 locations listed for IP Transit Internet 10GigE services.  Please verify the address for iii) Computer and Space Sciences listed in College Park, MD.
    A: In the past couple of months a street address has been added to this location: 4254 Stadium Dr.  This address DOES NOT show up in mapping software yet.  The latitude and longitude of this location is (38.99079524 ,  -76.94252908).
  20. Q:  What is the process that a selected Authorized Quilt Provider uses to update the terms and conditions it would sign with an Authorized Quilt Buyer that wishes to purchase off of The Quilt contract? 
    A: End-user contract documents and content are negotiated at the time of sale between Authorized Quilt Provider and Authorized Quilt Buyer.  The terms and conditions contained in these documents should not conflict with any of the terms of The Quilt CIS program Master Services Agreement.
  21. Q: For carriers who are participating for the first time, are there particular requirements in responding?
    A: Yes, all sections in the essay document will need to be completed.
    2) e. requires an apples to apples comparison – Even if this isn’t close to one of your network Pops, Plese provide quote for closest scenario.
  22. Q: Will late submissions be accepted?
    A: No

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 19, 2016 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 griffin@thequilt.net.

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 Sharon Akkoul.