As infrastructure (from Latin inf (e) ra , below 'and latin structura , assembled') refers to all systems , institutions , structures , systems and non-material realities that the general interest and the economic structure of a country or its regions serve.
The term appeared for the first time in the first half of the 18th century and in French initially referred to a substructure ( French infrastructure ), all earthworks to reclaim the soil and leveling in railway construction. In English described infrastructureespecially the immobile buildings and facilities that served to mobilize and keep the armies ready. According to an official definition, the NATO common infrastructure also referred to in 1961 the "real estate and facilities of the armed forces that were used to carry out NATO's military operation plans". This meant various facilities for military communication, logistics and deterrence: the air bases, ports, pipelines, rocket ramps, etc.
Even with the formulation of the NATO Security Investment Program in December 1951, infrastructure was also used as a synonym for the fixed costs in the defense budget - an abstraction and expansion of meaning that economics and economics gratefully took up. In addition to the personal infrastructure, human capital , infrastructure includes all long-lasting facilities of a material or institutional nature that promote the functioning of an economy based on the division of labor . A distinction is made between material and institutional infrastructures: the former are created by private hands, the latter are planned, maintained or designed by the state ( economic system , state-owned companies and state investments in infrastructure).
"Infrastructure is the entirety of the material and human facilities and conditions that are available to the economy based on the division of labor and contribute to the fact that the same factor payments for the same factor services (complete integration) are counted with appropriate resource allocation ". The infrastructure planning , creation and maintenance of various infrastructures is in part seen as a task of the state or bodies associated with it ( public institutions , public companies ) within the framework of services of general interest. The creation of a public infrastructure is usually financed by taxpayers ' money. The material infrastructure , also known as social capital , comprises the entirety of all systems, equipment and operating resources in an overall economy , which are used for energy supply , transport , telecommunications and the maintenance of natural resources and transport routes. In the course of the privatization of public / state enterprises and state tasks, the creation and maintenance of infrastructure in particular are increasingly being entrusted to private companies or companies organized under private law. Planning and regulation remains with the state.
The term infrastructure is now also used analogously to identify basic technical facilities in the private sector, for example in companies. Managed roads, buildings and basic technical services, such as electricity or communication in industrial parks or office facilities, can also be understood as infrastructure, for example. B. with " (On-) Site -" or " Facility Management ". The term IT infrastructure has also established itself in companies in recent years .
Types of public infrastructure
- Energy supply , electrical energy , gas supply , district heating , filling station network
- Communication : Broadcasting , Internet , landline telephony, mobile communications , postal services
- Material supply and disposal: garbage disposal , sewage , recycling , drinking water
Transport infrastructure :
- public transport by sea , inland waterways ( inland waterways ), railways ( local and long-distance trains ), public transport ( public transport and long-distance transport , long-distance buses ), air transport ( airports ), road transport ( roads ), shipping ( waterways ), radio navigation transmitters for air and sea vehicles
- Individual traffic : traffic routes , cycle paths , cycle paths , etc.
- Finance , banking , tax and monetary system
- Education system , educational institutions with libraries , schools , universities , technical colleges , research institutions , etc.
- Welfare services with childcare facilities, orphanages , old people's homes , women's shelters , care services, etc.
- Health system with hospitals , emergency services
- Cultural institutions with exhibition rooms, libraries , museums , etc.
- Public safety : civil protection, police , defense, etc.
- Social security with unemployment , pension and long-term care insurance
- Sports and leisure : Sports facilities and fields , parks , playgrounds
- natural and near-natural areas, protected areas , green bridges
- Parks, green spaces , roadside greenery , building greening
- natural and artificial waters (blue infrastructure)
Infrastructure law is the law that deals with state and municipal infrastructure and the guarantee of comprehensive services of general interest (water, sewage, energy, transport, telecommunications , post). This is a cross-sectional right . That means there is no legal text in which infrastructure law is regulated centrally. Provisions of infrastructure law can therefore be found in:
- Resolutions of the procurement review authorities,
- EC Treaty (EGV),
- Decisions of the antitrust authorities and the EU Commission ,
- EU regulations, EU directives and EU decisions,
- EU competition law , EU antitrust law ,
- EC state aid law ,
- Exemption regulations,
- Antitrust law (Act against Restraints of Competition - GWB),
- Case law of the ECJ ( European Court of Justice ),
- Jurisprudence of the award senates and cartel senates of the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) and the higher regional courts ,
- Sector-specific laws: Energy Industry Act, General Railway Act, Telecommunications Act, Postal Act,
- Procurement law (GWB, procurement ordinances - VgV,
- Constitutions, such as the German Basic Law (GG),
- Competition law (GWB, law against unfair competition - UWG)).
The following aspects are particularly important in infrastructure law:
- Obligation to tender ,
- Authorization to collect tolls and fees (loan),
- Transmission charges,
- Collection of development fees / development fees,
- Fee amount, toll amount,
- Joint use (possibly financing) of infrastructure facilities,
- Open and non-discriminatory network access,
- Abuse of a dominant position,
- Private financing of state and municipal infrastructure,
- Avoidance of double burdens for users / citizens.
The outstanding importance of infrastructure law is based on the great importance of state and municipal infrastructure.
Non-governmental infrastructure investment
Infrastructure investments are capital investments in companies that own or operate the networks and facilities that provide basic services to households and businesses. Some of these are also carried out through specialized infrastructure funds. Investments in infrastructure are often collaborations between the public and private sector within the framework of a public-private partnership (PPP). Non-governmental investors acquire ownership of an infrastructure facility such as B. a toll road or a pipeline network. This takes place in the context of privatizations, sales by privately held companies or through the establishment and subsequent operation. In a PPP, the assets tied up in the infrastructure are usually no longer owned by the state, but by non-state investors. Depending on the individual structure, the state continues to provide the infrastructural service or assigns it - temporarily or permanently - to non-state investors.
The economic infrastructure is characterized by the fact that the recipient is willing to pay for the newly created services. The service is typically made available to the general public for a fee.
The social infrastructure consists of services and facilities with strong positive external effects that are made available to the general public as free or subsidized goods.
Characteristic features of infrastructure investments
As an investor, it is difficult to get direct access to investment objects because the barriers to entry are high. A high capital requirement arises before the investments generate cash flows. Infrastructure investors also operate in a highly regulated environment, which requires specialist expertise from the managers. The high space requirement is a further barrier to entry, as this is often scarce, especially in urban areas. In the infrastructure sector, non-market decision-making mechanisms are on the agenda, as the market environment is often monopolistic or oligopolistic. The consumer often has no influence on pricing, as no substitute goods are available. Infrastructure systems represent an indispensable basic service for a society. Infrastructure investments seem to be particularly interesting because of the performance characteristics. With a relatively low portfolio risk (measured in terms of volatility ), an investment can generate a long-term, regular and easily calculable cash flow. The income is easy to calculate, since very long concessions are often concluded with very solvent debtors (tenants), often the state. These concessions are often agreed for between 25 and 99 years. A low and inelastic demand for the services is also assumed, since the consumers are dependent on the facilities. Therefore, business cycles only play a subordinate role in an investment decision. Infrastructure investments correlate only to a small extent with other asset classes and are less volatile. The problem with an investment in the infrastructure is that it can only meet an interesting return expectation if a high proportion of borrowed capital is brought into the financing.
Research infrastructures are those facilities, resources and services that are specifically set up for scientific purposes, made available in the medium or long term and which require specific skills for their proper construction, operation and use.
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