MPLS RFP Process for a Giant Media Company


McClatchy started as a single, four-page newspaper in 1857 in Sacramento, California. Today, it employs 4,200 people, operates 30 media companies in 14 states, and received 3.9 billion page views in 2017 alone. A majority of the company’s revenue comes from advertising, with print and digital ad bundles as their growing focal point.

However, there was a problem.















MPLS Network Woes

Because McClatchy publishes daily print and digital newspapers, newsletters, videos, and more, constant reliable communication among all its facilities is essential.

It had an MPLS network in place that they believed would enhance the intrinsic MPLS benefits of scalability, performance, better bandwidth utilization, reduced network congestion and a better end-user experience.

However, when their MPLS provider was acquired by another company, McClatchy started to experience outages and issues with service, with no help in sight. Each time they called the provider, everything had to be explained again — and again. There was no consistent account team and the support they were receiving was sub-par.

The media giant knew it needed to make a switch, but was unsure who would be the best fit. They also didn’t want to go through the MPLS RFP process again on their own.

LinkSource to the Rescue

LinkSource, a telecom and cloud managed services provider, had provided McClatchy with one-off quotes over the past couple of years and had demonstrated that they knew what they were doing. Therefore, hiring LinkSource to deal with the MPLS RFP process on their behalf, was an easy decision.

The MPLS RFP Process

LinkSource, with more than 20 years of experience in the RFP process, worked with McClatchy to identify its requirements and define the project’s objectives which included:

  • Needed virtually no outages
  • Ensuring all maintenance fell into a period of 2 a.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Wanting superior customer support from the provider
  • Needing someone to manage the project from start to finish

Bidding and Planning

MPLS RFP Criteria Planning & Bid Management

Armed with McClatchy’s goals, LinkSource and a McClatchy team set out criteria that a provider would need to meet. Their intent was to establish clear criteria that would elicit the information from the vendor that McClatchy would need to help it form the basis for the final evaluation.

After about three months, the group had created the RFP.

4 MPLS Vendors Identified

LinkSource identified four MPLS network vendors and asked them to bid.

High availability and superior customer support were on top of McClatchy’s list of needs, and based on that, LinkSource decided it was more important to benchmark the providers’ service rather than its cost.

Once the bids came in and were evaluated and scored, it was clear to the team that based on their responses, Masergy should be the top choice. LinkSource knew that Masergy would be able to:

  • Return McClatchy’s calls
  • Provide the necessary support
  • Have almost no outages

The last thing LinkSource wanted was to have McClatchy utilize a provider that they could not trust and could not deliver, as it would not reflect well on the company or its recommendation.

Pushback on Top Choice

When the team met with the top executives and presented the rationale for its choice, they were surprised by the pushback they received. McClatchy hadn’t heard of the company and wanted proof it would be the right one.

Many phone calls and references later, McClatchy relented and understood why the choice was best.

Managing the MPLS RFP Project

The contract agreement process took four months and implementation of the network took another nine, in part because a lot of construction would be required to make everything work as it should.

LinkSource managed the entire MPLS RFP process as well as:

  • Handled the canceling of the old service
  • Ensured contract dates were met
  • Coordinated site visits
  • Kept the project tracking log
  • Worked with each facility to do the scheduling

The LinkSource Advantage

Throughout the process, LinkSource kept McClatchy in the loop, informing it of milestones met, progress made, and installations that were ready. It became a trusted advisor and sort of security blanket for them. It let the media company know it was handling every stage in the MPLS RFP process and attending to every major and minor detail.

And, as time went on, because Masergy had worked out well, LinkSource took on a new role: one of telecom expert extraordinaire. LinkSource continues to keep McClatchy informed of new trends and products, including the possibility of an SD-WAN network as a new alternative.

If you’re in need of a provider switch or new network setup, give us a call at 916-757-1100. We can help you through the entire RFP process and installation.


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