TCCP Connectivity RFP Notice

TCCP Connectivity RFP Notice

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The “TVET Colleges Connection Project (TCCP)” is an ICT infrastructure initiative by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) funded through a National Skills Fund (NSF) grant to connect Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College campuses to the South African National Research Network (SANReN). The purpose of this project is to solve bandwidth poverty at South Africa’s TVET Colleges by connecting them to the SANReN, thereby enabling them to contribute to meeting the goals of the developmental state.


The DHET has appointed the South African Broadband Education Network (SABEN) to implement the project.


SABEN is a non-profit company that was formed as a collaboration between the Tertiary Education and Research Network of South Africa (TENET) and the SANReN Competency Area (SCA), at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), specifically to connect TVET colleges to SANReN. Initially, SABEN assisted colleges to self-fund their connections to the SANReN.

This SABEN RFP process intends to identify providers to be contracted to (a) connect the identified sites and (b) provide three years of connection service. SABEN will utilise the grant funding to cover the capital expenditures (up-front costs) for the envisaged connections. SABEN will recover the monthly operating costs over the connection service period from the respective TVET Colleges.


There are 12 RFP’s published.


To access them on the TCCP page, use the link below:


To get to the Connectivity RFP page is:


A non-compulsory briefing session is scheduled for Tuesday 5 February 2019 at 10h00. Interested parties may join this briefing session at:
The TENET office in Cape Town:
House Vincent
Wynberg Mews
10 Ebenezer Road
The CSIR in Pretoria
Meraka Auditorium
CSIR Meraka Institute
Building 43A
Meiring Naude Road
Pretoria (Use the South Gate entrance to access)
You attend either venue and we will video conference between the two venues.
Please review the RFP thoroughly. All queries to be mailed to the address.

Questions & Answers:

Q: Is it an absolute requirement to have dark fibre only?

A: Refer to the following sections in the RFP:

4.2 Link Requirements – Dark Fibre 
4.3 Link Requirements – Managed Fibre 
4.4 Link Requirements – Wireless 
Q: With reference to the campus site list and the POP site list, please provide list that includes the physical address for each site.
A: Revised PoP list with physical addresses: http://resolveuid/015858e4dddc45cab574cbfc384b22f9
Q: Is it acceptable for a service provider to connect a TVET College Campus to a SANReN PoP that is different to those that are suggested, in order to contain the Access Network Circuit within a single region on the service provider network?
A: Please refer to section 5 of the RFP:
The list of recommended PoP’s for the identified Campus sites are set out in Annexure 2.
Proposals for alternative PoP’s that provide better price performance connections may be proposed. A motivation as to why the alternate PoP should be considered shall be included.
Pricing for the most suitable PoP on the recommended list shall be included.  Where alternative PoP’s are identified, pricing and motivation shall be included as per the Costing Schedule in Annexure 3. 
Q1: Please confirm whether a High CAPEX and Low OPEX model will be preferred? 
Q2: Will a portion of the Monthly Recurring Cost be paid by the TVET for a duration of the contract? 
A: Please refer to section 1.5 of the RFP.
“…SABEN will utilize the grant funding to cover the capital expenditures (up-front costs) for the envisaged connections. SABEN will recover the monthly operating costs over the connection service period from the respective TVET Colleges.”
The entire monthly recurring cost will be paid by the TVET and affordability to the TVET’s is important. 
Q: Is the service provider the one to buy the materials we are using from PoPs to site or SABEN will provide with the funding for materials ?
A: A. SABEN will only be responsible for the equipment we need at our PoPs (e.g. Switches, ENNI’s, Cross Connects). The Service Providers’ are responsible for obtaining their own equipment. 
Also note points 8.1.6 , 8.1.11 and 8.1.12 in the RFP.
Q: Q. Do we have to price for monthly service that will be required on site?
A: No
Q: In Annexure 1 it is stated that the service provider needs to provide the routing information in their response. Is this routing plan a requirement for Dark Fibre and Managed Services as well?
A: For Dark Fibre and Wireless provide as detailed routing information that is available for the evaluation team to understand the solution. For Wireless, also provide the information of all high sites.
For Managed Services provide a logical diagram with as detailed information that is available for the evaluation team to understand the solution.
Q: Does the Response and Mean Time to Repair in the RFP refer to business hours or any hours?
A: Any hours – we understand that in some areas it may be more difficult to meet an MTTR of 8 hours. If this is not possible, the service providers’ to state what is possible.
Q: Under the evaluation criteria, there is a pricing score calculation and a tech score calculation but the ratio of the tech and pricing as a total score is not stated. 
A: There will not be a numeric combination of the Technical and Pricing scores. As per section 3 of the Compliance table, ‘3. Award decisions: The resulting total technical and total costing scores (individual and bundled) will allow negotiations with the TVET colleges regarding the most suitable value for money options, based on price performance and affordability. Final decisions on award will be subject to these negotiations.’
Further, referring to the Compliance Table, the Overall Technical Requirements Score – the 260 and 26 are to be adjusted to 250 and 25 as follows ‘The maximum result obtainable for the above table is 250 points. The Overall Requirements Score will be calculated by dividing the result by 25 and rounding up to the next whole number.’
The following is further clarified: Where a proposal is not providing for Dark Fibre and Managed Fibre and Wireless solutions, then the division will be adjusted to accommodate the non-applicable requirements ( TO
Q: What is preference in terms of Capex vs Opex?
A: This is a Capex funded project. The Opex will be funded by the institutions. Therefore, the Opex will need to be at an affordable rate to the institutions. The evaluation will look at both Capex and Opex as well as the total cost of the proposal.
Q: When will the project be executed?
A:  As per paragraph 9.6 in the RFP, a validity period of 6 months is specified to accommodate the full evaluation process. Once RFP’s are submitted they will be evaluated (which will take a considerable amount of time to evaluate 325 sites etc.), we will then have report back sessions with DHET & NSF with recommendations and the final request to proceed. We will then schedule briefing sessions with the 50 TVET’s regarding pricing and agreement on the connections. Only then can connections be approved and purchase orders issued.
Q: Will it be possible to offer a partial solution?
A: Yes – it is not necessary to be able to provide connectivity to all the sites identified in a particular RFP. However the RFP numbering must be followed in the responses.
Q:  Are service providers able to provide/quote for a higher capacity to that requested in the RFP?
A: Yes, we are looking for value for money. Provide a response as per the minimum specification in the RFP to enable a like-for-like comparison in the evaluation process. Then separately provide a quote for the higher capacity that you wish to offer. 
Q: Will SABEN be willing to disclose what you will be charging for bandwidth so we have a better idea on how to set our pricing?
A: The RFP process is seeking best value for money for connections (Capex and O&M/Opex). Bandwidth charges are additional costs to the TVET colleges and are not under the control of the connection providers.
Q: Can we provide multiple options for the same solution?
A: Yes
Q: For Dark fibre, under SLA active monitoring, is it compulsory to monitor each site and not a major route instead as this will have an impact on cost?
A: For Wireless and Managed Service, service providers’ to actively monitor their own equipment but for Dark Fibre it will actively be managed by SABEN.
Q: The two firm requirements in the RFP i.e. the 9000 MTU and fibre client facing port will impact costs. Can those requirement be reconsidered?
A: Those are the minimum requirements which are compulsory.
Q: Is the single mode compliance compulsory?
A: Yes
Q: Will the TCCP project supply the required small form pluggable modules SFP’s?
A:  Yes
Q: Will SABEN supply the bandwidth?
A: Yes, the service provider provides the carrier network and SABEN will provide the Internet connection.
Q: Will TCCP consider pricing to a particular PoP that supplies commodity networking as part of the solution?
A: SABEN supplies the bandwidth which includes commodity traffic.
Q: Are you looking for a Layer 2 service? 
A: Yes, Layer 1 and 2.
Q: Will there be an upfront prepayment to awarded service providers?
A: Refer to RFP section 9.5.1 - Prices are to be provided on the basis of no upfront payments. For successful providers a prepayment limit to a 20% Capex amount may be negotiated.
Q: If a TVET drops off once the contract has been signed will that put the service providers at risk of losing payment?
A: No, SABEN has contracted with the service provider and will recover any incurred amount from the institution.
Q: Will there be any submission extension to the 12 March 2019 deadline?
A: No.
Q: How must we price this? Should we price on the proposal or on the template you guys provided? And earlier on the response say we are not providing monthly service prices whereas on the provided price template there is months of service.
A: It is up to each service provider to price their solution. We cannot advise how much a service provider should price their solution.
You have to use the template we provided. You populate the template with your costing e.g. CAPEX (ex VAT), Monthly O&M (ex VAT), and backhaul costs, Spectrum costs ( for Wirless solutions), etc, according to the headings in the spreadsheet.
Note that there are two worksheets in the spreadsheet – one for individual site pricing and one for bundled pricing. If you do provide bundled pricing you also need to provide the individual pricing – as stated in the RFP.
Review sections 9 (Pricing and Validity) and 10 (Proposal Design and Costing Instructions) in the RFP. Examples are also provided on how to populated the spreadsheet (10.6 and 10.7)
Q: Confirm GPS coordinates for UMG Greytown.
A: Received from DHET:
Near Greytown, 3250 
Q: Would it count against the service provider if they enter into a joint venture (JV) with another service provider?
A: It is the service providers decision to enter into a joint venture. The RFP does not prohibit it.
Please note:
The GPS Coordinates for the EHL Lydenburg site (Region 8), has been updated.
Also, the address is noted as 1 Rossouw Street, Lydenburg.
Ehlanzeni TVET College EHL - Lydenburg 193_8_Ehlanzeni TVET College_EHL - Lydenburg 25° 5'54.16"S Incorrect 30°26'21.84"E Incorrect
      25° 5'46.309"S Correct 30°28'16.15"E Correct


Q: Instances where we are able to provide CIR and MIR capacities for sites, can we enter columns in the price template to reflect this?

A: We would only want the CIR. Do not alter the templates.


Q: There is no column for annual ICASA spectrum fees in the pricing sheets, can one be added?

A: This is to be incorporated into the monthly cost.

For example:
Annual spectrum fee = R1000.
Contract period = 3 years.
Total spectrum fee for contract duration = R3000
Divide the R3000 by 36 months and add to the O&M.
This does not detract from the fact we will still be making use of our license.
Do not alter the templates.
Q: Assistance needed on the issue of address on where we are submitting the document?
Is it a tender box or we're referring it to someone?
A: Please refer to section 12.9. in the RFP.
12.9 The proposal package shall be submitted to the following physical address:
12.9.1 SABEN, House Cloete, Wynberg Mews, Brodie Road, Wynberg, Cape Town, 7800.
12.10 Both a responding representative (including a delivery service) for this RFP and a SABEN representative shall sign for delivery and acceptance of the proposal.
12.11 Closing time and date for submissions is 15:00 on 12 March 2019.
12.12 Delivery can only be accepted between 09h00 and 15h00 on any business day.