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The Quilt 2023 Commodity Internet Services RFP


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. The Quilt Community collectively purchases 2.32Tbps of committed commodity bandwidth from Authorized Quilt Providers established from The Quilt’s 11th RFP effort in 2023.

The Quilt’s 2023 Commodity Internet Service RFP Process

The components of the 2023 RFP include:

  1. CIS RFP Overview Document (.doc)
  2. CIS RFP Essay (.doc)
  3. CIS Provider Pricing Matrix (.xls)

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.

Schedule of RFP Activities

Event Date
RFP Release January 9, 2023 (Monday)
Non-Binding Letter of Intent to Respond Due January 25, 2023 (Wednesday)
Pre-RFP Q&A Zoom Call 3:00 pm EST
(Zoom – https://zoom.us/j/94455255793)
Meeting ID: 944 5525 5793
One tap mobile
+16469313860,,94455255793# US
February 2, 2023 (Thursday)
Due Date for CIS RFP Submission to The Quilt (11:59 pm EST) February 22, 2023 (Wednesday)
CIS RFP Semi-Finalists Invited for Presentations April 3, 2023 (Monday)
CIS RFP Semi-Finalist Presentations by Video
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:
(Zoom TBD)
April 18, 19 & 20 2023
(Tuesday / Wednesday / Thursday)
Providers Selected to be CIS Authorized Quilt Provider (AQP) April 20, 2023 (Thursday)
CIS Master Services Agreement Signed* Week of May 22, 2023
CIS Authorized Quilt Provider Now Authorized to Sell Under Quilt Pricing Agreement Upon MSA execution


If you have any questions regarding the documents or RFP process, please contact Michael Lambert: qt-2023cisrfp@thequilt.net

2023 CIS RFP Q&A

2023 CIS RFP Q&A

Q: How many Authorized Providers will be selected?

A:  Providers will be selected based on merit. There may be as few as zero or there may be several. There is no set number

Q: Are Quilt participants required to purchase from the Authorized Providers?

A:  No. While there are significant advantages to The Quilt participants to purchase from Authorized Quilt Providers, participants are free to choose their own solutions based on their individual needs.

Q: Who are the Authorized Quilt Buyers?

A: The Quilt’s members varies from one regional network to another. In some cases, the regional network will be the only purchaser of Internet services. In other cases, the ‘connected’ entities of the regional network may be the purchasers. Since this varies from region to region, The Quilt maintains a list of organizations that are approved to purchase services under the auspices of The Quilt Provider agreements. See Exhibit A of the sample Agreement, for the current list of Buyers. Note, this list changes over time and these changes are communicated to our Providers.

Q: What are the negotiating requirements for an Authorized Quilt Provider?

A:  The pricing quoted in the RFP response is the only pricing that a Provider may offer to a Buyer. Providers may, of course, offer pricing outside of the RFP response to customers not on the Buyer list. If a Provider wishes to offer lower pricing to a Buyer than that which was quoted in their Master Service Agreement (MSA) with The Quilt, then  the Provider must amend The Quilt MSA to make the lowest pricing available to all the Buyers. Amendments will be considered at any time.

Q&A from Pre-RFP Call

Q: Some areas where it might ask for a response, are there any responses required on overview doc?

A:  No, the essay is the document where your responses will be evaluated. 

Q: RFP docs note prices must include taxes and fees. Given we don’t have control over taxes, how do we indicate this in a response?

A:  We understand that taxes are not within a provider’s control.  We are interested in RFP responses and provider billing practices that clearly delineate between provider fees and taxes.  For RFP responses, we understand that costs labeled as taxes are an indication of the current taxes controlled by taxing authorities and are subject to change.  We seek to avoid situations where taxes and providers fees are lumped together into a single line item without transparency into the sources of these fees.

Q: Is The Quilt only interested in 12-month pricing or are longer terms of 24-months and 36-months also being considered?

A:  RFP responses will be evaluated on 12-month pricing.  However, there are places in the pricing matrix to offer other pricing for extended term contracts. 

Q: What is the optimal approach to the Quilt PoP locations that are provider near-net locations that might require a loop or backhaul to another pop location?

A: In general, we are looking to connect with a provider at an on-net location.  For a near-net location that requires an additional connection and/or backhaul, it is important to note that for that location and mention if there will be a 3rd-party cost involved.  It is not necessary to include the actual price of the third-party connection cost.  Only to note that a third-party connection cost will be involved.

Q: In colocation facilities where cross-connects are required, is it necessary to list cross-connect pricing?

A:  The answer to this will vary by facility type.  If it is your colocation facility, we expect that to be included in the price of the connection.  For a colocation facility for which a third-party cross-connect is required, just note that a 3rd party cross-connect will be required.

Q: Can you describe the role of the Authorized Quilt Buyer in the RFP process? How is this different from The Quilt’s role in the RFP?

A:  The Quilt is a community comprised of 40 R&E networks. Each member network has its own list of Authorized Quilt Buyers.  Providers awarded through the RFP process will sign a Master Service Agreement with The Quilt for Quilt program pricing.  Authorized Quilt Buyers will be the entities that will sign the provider’s end-user agreement with terms as conditions.

Q: The RFP overview document stated that Quilt members collectively purchase 2.3 terabytes of bandwidth. How many of the buyers are buying through Quilt Authorized Providers today rather than through other service providers?

A:  The 2.3 terabyte bandwidth purchase number is the current amount of aggregated committed bandwidth purchased from Authorized Providers.  This number does not reflect transit purchased through providers outside the program, nor does it reflect the amount of bursting bandwidth used by Buyers which is significant.

Q: Can you explain the situations when a Buyer would be interested in spreading the committed bandwidth purchase over multiple ports?

A:  Quilt members are network aggregation points for Research & Education organizations within a certain geographic territory and have high-capacity CIS needs such as transit, service resiliency, traffic management, etc..  Multiple 10Gbps, 100Gbps and 400Gbps ports per organization are now standard. A pricing model that supports one Authorized Quilt Buyer (AQB) purchasing several circuits and spreading the AQB’s cumulative committed data rate across those circuits would be useful.

Q: How do we indicate on the PoP location spreadsheet that we are willing to consider building into a specific location depending on Buyer demand to help make the business case?

A:  You may note just that on the spreadsheet that this location is currently off-net but that you are willing to consider buildout if the business case can be made for location demand.

Q: What percentage of the Quilt member’s service locations (PoP location spreadsheet) do we need to serve to have a competitive RFP response?

A:  This PoP location list tells you where our Buyers can meet you.  If you have locations in the vicinity, that is interesting information to us.  We recognize not any single provider will get to all locations.  We are seeking to provide multiple options to our Buyers where possible for diversity while also looking at opportunities to reach unique locations.  Please use the note field for information about a particular site or geographic area.

Q: Is The Quilt willing to sign an NDA before we provide response to proprietary network information?

A: The Quilt does not execute NDAs.  We hold all information provided to us through the RFP process in strict confidence.

Q: Who are the current program Providers?

A:  From our most recent RFP cycle in 2020, Lumen, Cogent, Arelion, GTT, 365 Data Centers and Zayo were selected as Providers.

Q: How many Quilt Buyers participate in e-rate? How much of the Buyer business is going through the Form 470 e-rate process?

A:  The majority of Buyers on our authorized Quilt list are higher education institutions that do not participate in e-rate.  For K-12 schools, a small percentage may go through the Form 470 process, in which case, a Provider may respond using the Quilt program pricing in their response.

Q: Any chance of an extension for the RFP deadline?

A:  No. Short of a natural disaster, we will not extend the deadline for RFP responses.