An infrastructure (from the Latin infra below, ' and structura, assembled ') is figuratively a substructure.

It includes all durable material or institutional facilities that promote the functioning of a division of labor economy. It can distinguish between the created from a private collection infrastructure and designed by the state infrastructure ( economic order, state-owned enterprises and government investment in infrastructure).


Infrastructure and superstructure are terms that were first used by NATO. The infrastructure described originally in the ground lines, such as pipelines, pipelines and cables.

The planning, construction and maintenance of certain types of infrastructure is viewed as non- mission of the State or his associated institutions (public institutions, public enterprises ) within the framework of general interest. The creation of a public infrastructure is usually financed by taxpayers' money.

As part of the privatization of public / state-owned enterprises and state responsibilities in particular creation and maintenance of infrastructure are increasingly being transferred private or organized under private law firms. However, the planning and regulatory control remains with the state.

The term infrastructure is now also used analogously to the identification of underlying technical institutions in the private sector, eg in companies. Thus can be understood in industrial parks or business- as infrastructure, among other things managed roads, buildings and technical basic services, such as electricity or communication, special forms of organization of private sector management of such systems is known, for example, with "( on- ) site " or " Facility Management ". The company itself has also prevailed, the term IT infrastructure in recent years.

Types of public infrastructure

Technical Infrastructure

  • Energy supply, electric power, gas supply, district heating, gas station network
  • Communication: radio, Internet, fixed-line telephony, mobile
  • Material supply and disposal: waste disposal, waste, recyclable materials recycling, water
  • Transport infrastructure: Public transport by inland waterways, maritime, railways ( local and long distance rail), public transportation ( public transport and long-distance passenger remote bus), air transport, airports, roads, navigation radio transmitter for air and sea vehicles; as well as private transport: roads, cycle paths, cycle paths etc.
  • Monetary System

Social Infrastructure

  • Education system, educational institutions with libraries, schools, universities, colleges, research institutions, etc.
  • Services with child-care facilities, nursing services, etc.
  • Health system with hospitals, emergency services
  • Cultural institutions with exhibition spaces, libraries, museums, etc.
  • Public safety: civil protection, police, defense, etc.

Infrastructure law

Infrastructure is the right, which deals with the state and municipal infrastructure and ensuring of comprehensive offers of interest employed ( water, sanitation, energy, transport, telecommunications, postal services ). This is a cross-cutting law. That is, there is no legal text would be centrally controlled in the infrastructure right. Provisions of law infrastructure are therefore found in:

  • Decisions of the procurement review bodies,
  • The EC Treaty ( TEC),
  • Decisions of the competition authorities and the European Commission,
  • EU regulations, EU directives and EU decisions,
  • EU competition law, EU competition law,
  • EC state aid law,
  • Exemption regulations,
  • Antitrust (Law against Restraints of Competition - GWB )
  • Law of the ECJ ( European Court of Justice),
  • Jurisdiction of the Senate and award cartel divisions of the Supreme Court and the Courts of Appeal,
  • Sector -specific trade laws: Energy Law, General Railway Act, the Telecommunications Act, the Postal Act,
  • Procurement law (GWB, procurement regulations - VgV,
  • Constitutions, such as the German Basic Law (GG),
  • Competition law (GWB, Unfair Competition - UWG) ).

In infrastructure law are in particular the following aspects are important:

  • Tendering requirement;
  • Permission to surveys of toll and fee ( LTV ),
  • Transmission charges,
  • Collection of amounts development / development fees,
  • Fee levels, toll rate,
  • Sharing (if financing) of infrastructure facilities,
  • Open and non-discriminatory network access,
  • Abuse of dominant position,
  • Private financing of state and local infrastructure,
  • Avoiding double charging for users / citizens.

The outstanding importance of the infrastructure right is based on the importance of state and local infrastructure.

Non-governmental investment in infrastructure

Infrastructure investment strategies are investments in companies that own or operate the networks and facilities to primary care of homes and businesses. Some of these are made ​​via specialized infrastructure funds.

The business-related, economic areas of infrastructure are characterized by the fact that the receiver is willing to pay for these services. Non-governmental investors acquire ownership of a piece of infrastructure, such as a toll road or a pipeline network. This is done in the context of privatization, the sale of privately held companies or by the construction and subsequent operation. The power is provided to the general public for a fee typically available.

Investment in social infrastructure are often cooperation within a Public Private Partnerships ( PPP) or Private Finance Initiative ( PFI) between public and private sectors. The State shall continue to provide the service, while the actual assets, depending on the model, can not be built, operated and maintained by non-governmental investors are state-owned and / or. There are different models that differ according to the degree of responsibility of non-governmental investor. The social infrastructure consists of services and facilities with strong positive externalities that are provided as free or subsidized goods available.

Characteristics of Infrastructure Investments

As an investor, it is difficult to get direct access to investment, since the barriers to entry are high. The result is a high capital requirement before the investment cash flow yield. Infrastructure investors also operate in a highly regulated environment, this requires specialized expertise of the manager. The high space requirement is an additional barrier to entry, as this is often scarce, especially in urban areas. In the infrastructure sector non-market decision-making mechanisms even be on the agenda, because often there is a monopolistic or oligopolistic market environment. The consumer often has no effect on the pricing, as no substitute goods are available. Infrastructure investments represent an indispensable basis for a power company dar. Particularly interesting seem to be investment in infrastructure due to the performance characteristics. At relatively low portfolio risk (measured by volatility) can be achieved with an investment a long-term, regular and predictable cash flow well. The income are as easy to calculate, since often very long with very concessions graduates debtors ( tenants ), often the state to be closed. These concessions are often agreed 25 to 99 years. There is also a small and inelastic demand for the services assumed, as consumers rely on the facilities. Therefore, economic cycles play only a minor role in an investment decision. Infrastructure investments korellieren only to a small extent with other asset classes and have lower volatility. The problem with investing in the infrastructure that this is only an interesting return expected fair if a high leverage is introduced into the financing.