Procurement

FBOpen shuttered due to low usage

 

The General Services Administration's open-source site aimed at helping small businesses get a handle on the myriad opportunities to work with the federal government has been shut down by the agency.

Visitors to the site get a page that says, "FBOpen is temporarily shut down."

GSA officials told FCW on background that the agency closed down FBOpen because of low usage over the summer. The resource's government clearance to operate has to be refreshed before it can again go live, they said.

The agency is currently working on plans for FBOpen's future, and it plans to announce those once they are finalized, it said.

The FBOpen application programming interface was launched in 2014 by Presidential Innovation Fellows, 18F and the GSA Integrated Award Environment as the first of several pilot apps that looked to streamline the federal government contracting processes. The effort was the first project connected with the innovation shop 18F to go live.

FBOpen sought to make it easier and less intimidating for small businesses to search the vast content of the government's Federal Business Opportunities site for relevant projects. The Google-style page lets small businesses and companies not familiar with the federal government's processes search for available federal contracts and grants.

The FBOpen package included an open-API server, data import tools and sample apps. A simple API also allowed users to build their own query tools.

Separately, the House of Representatives passed a bill to make the Presidential Innovation Fellows program a permanent fixture of government. The measure, sponsored by Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.),  passed under suspension of the rules by a vote of 386-17. The Tested Ability to Leverage Exceptional National Talent, or TALENT, Act preserves the program at GSA and keeps it open to techies outside government who are looking to serve under term appointments.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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