GSA to charge $2,500 for Web services access to procurement data

The General Services Administration made it official yesterday, setting a one-time fee of $2,500 for vendors and the public to receive a direct, continuous feed from the new Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation via Web services.

The data will remain free for those who choose to receive the information via File Transfer Protocol or to perform ad hoc or prewritten queries of the database, GSA said in the interim rule with a request for comments published in Tuesday's Federal Register. Comments are due Feb. 28.

The fee will 'partially cover the cost of technical support, testing and certification of direct integration to the FPDS Web services,' GSA said in the notice.

GSA's decision to charge a minimal fee received a positive response from vendors.

Paul Murphy, president of Eagle Eye Publishers Inc. of Fairfax, Va., said the fee is reasonable and much better than the tens of thousands of dollars GSA and FPDS vendor Global Computer Enterprises Inc. of Gaithersburg, Md., originally considered charging.

'GCE has to do some things on their end and help us implement procedures to download the data,' Murphy said. 'It involves time on their end and they deserve to be paid for it.'

Murphy said his company's connection to FPDS-NG has been successfully tested and is waiting for the fiscal 2004 data to become available. GSA officials said in August that the data would be available by Dec. 31 See GCN Story.

GSA had charged vendors such as Eagle Eye, Input of Reston, Va., and Federal Sources Inc. of Chantilly, Va., about $1,500 a year to access the data, Murphy said.

In the notice, GSA said it will restrict access to the database during peak hours, depending on the level of demand and the system's ability to service that demand.

'We expect that nearly all of the public users will use the free data and report generation tools that will also be available,' GSA noted. 'The public will use the same report generating tools as federal employees to access the database.'

Comments on this rule should be sent to gsarcase.2004-G509@gsa.gov.

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