Request for Information: Provision of Satellite-Based Internet for Schools

Source: UNICEF

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) seeks suppliers to provide satellite services and solutions to accelerate internet connectivity adoption in schools and other programmatic areas. The Request for Information (RFI) aims to identify and shortlist potential service providers capable of providing all or part of the Satellite-based Internet Access for Schools requirements.

In 2019, UNICEF and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) joined forces to create Giga: a global initiative to connect every school to the Internet by 2030. Since then, Giga has directly connected more than 5,500 schools to the internet in 19 countries to benefit 2.1 million learners since 2020. However, connecting remote and rural schools in settlements without access to electricity, further than 20 km away from fiber infrastructure and out of the reach of mobile cellular networks, is a significant challenge that needs to be addressed if we want to connect all schools in the world by 2030.

Giga aims to provide meaningful and sustainable connectivity to all schools. However, for the remotest schools, the lack of infrastructure considerably increases the costs to connect. And even if we can connect the most isolated schools, it is important to ensure that the price they would be paying each month for internet services is affordable.

Therefore, Giga partner UNICEF requests information from satellite communication companies to understand the technology solutions available and their capabilities to connect the remotest schools, the licensing requirements, and the capital and operational expenditures associated with each technology. Access to efficient and cost-effective satellite communication services is essential for UNICEF programmatic objectives in schools in over 190 countries spanning thousands of locations worldwide. In addition, satellite services would be used in many of these countries to support the Giga initiative.

As a result of this Request for Information (RFI), UNICEF is considering entering a non-exclusive Long-Term Arrangement (LTA) with one or multiple vendors to provide end-to-end connectivity solutions for schools. In addition, UNICEF may use this LTA to ‘broker’ contractual relationships with governments to provide satellite connectivity for their schools as part of the Giga initiative.

The connectivity is mainly intended for use in schools but could be extended to other areas of UNICEF programs or operations worldwide. Companies are encouraged to respond to the RFI here by November 30, 2022, 23:59 (GMT-5) Eastern Time (US & Canada).

Important Information

This Request for Information (RFI) does not constitute a formal solicitation, as UNICEF does not request bids or proposals at this stage. Instead, the RF seeks information on business components and pricing models for future tender. Kindly note that you are not expected to provide exact pricing or quotes, just averages or estimates of CAPEX and OPEX for connectivity and clean energy solutions.

Responding to this RFI does not automatically ensure that you will be selected to participate in a tender or be selected for procurement. Furthermore, UNICEF will not be responsible for your costs in preparing and submitting the requested information.

In addition, UNICEF reserves the right to change or cancel the requirements at any time during the RFI and/or any future solicitation process and reserves the right to require compliance with additional conditions as and when issuing any future tender documents.

As a minimum requirement, only companies that provide clear and accurate information to the questions mentioned above will be assessed as suitable to provide the services and may be invited to participate in the future competitive bidding process.

Please check here or reach out to Claire Herald for more information.

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