GSA confirms data charges

FPDS rule in Federal Register

The General Services Administration made it official today: People who want direct access to the government's central procurement database must pay a one-time hookup fee of $2,500.

Those users also could be limited to accessing the Federal Procurement Data System during non-peak hours, according to the rule published in the Federal Register.

The final decision follows weeks of discussion last summer, in which several market research firms complained that Global Computer Enterprises, the contractor managing the latest version of the database, planned to increase the cost dramatically of access federal data.

In the past, when GSA managed the database, it charged only a nominal fee. Such firms as Eagle Eye and Federal Sources typically request access to raw data so their analysts can produce custom reports, which they in turn provide to clients selling to the federal government.

Eventually, GSA and GCE agreed that the contractor would generate 40 standard reports from the database for anyone at no cost. Only people who want access to the database itself would have to pay.

The $2,500 fee will help the contractor cover the cost of technical support and testing, according to the rule. The contractor may also restrict access during peak hours if it would slow down overall system performance.

"We expect only a few requests for the direct integration to the FPDS Web services," the rule states. "We expect that nearly all of the public users will use the free data and report generation tools that will also be available."

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