What is an Infrastructure Industry?

Justin Riche

The term "infrastructure" refers to basic utilities or facilities that are used daily by people, such as roads, electricity, water and sewage systems. "Industry" refers to a specific business activity. Therefore, an infrastructure industry refers to a group of organizations that build, supply and maintain certain utilities and facilities. For example, organizations that build power plants and those that distribute power are said to be in the energy infrastructure industry. The main infrastructure industries include transportation, energy, water management, communications and waste management.

Waste management can be considered part of the infrastructure industry.
Waste management can be considered part of the infrastructure industry.

The activities of the organizations in the transportation infrastructure industry revolve around building and maintaining most of the facilities that make travel and transport possible. Some facilities that are included in this sector are roads, bridges, airports, ports, railways and subways. Those in the energy infrastructure sector handle the construction and installation of solar power systems, wind power systems, electricity grids and many other facilities that help produce and distribute energy.

Building bridges is part of the work of the transportation infrastructure industry.
Building bridges is part of the work of the transportation infrastructure industry.

Water management organizations mainly manage things such as building systems that bring potable water to the public for everyday use. The companies in the communications infrastructure sector construct many systems that allow people to watch television and use telephones, the Internet and other communication channels. Waste management companies include those that collect garbage and recyclables on a regular basis. In some cases, organizations cover such a wide range of activities that they can be included in more than one industry in the infrastructure sector.

There also are infrastructure manufacturers who basically produce or even supply many of the products necessary for a wide range of infrastructural projects. For example, some manufacturers will produce and supply many of the components that are required to build a bridge. Organizations in an infrastructure industry can be privately owned, or they can be publicly owned, which means that they are owned or operated by governments. In some cases, both private and public infrastructure organizations engage in partnerships in order to develop certain facilities in the infrastructure sector. Also, depending on the country, the infrastructure industries can be regulated according to the particular sector.

The private infrastructure industry mainly consists of companies that build, provide and maintain utility systems that make it possible to get and make use of electricity, gas, telecommunications and more. Infrastructure companies in this sector are mostly privately owned. They might finance their projects by raising money from investors, but in some instances, the governments do help in one way or another. On the other hand, the public infrastructure industry, which is comprised of organizations that are government-owned or operated, mainly finances its projects through tax revenues and/or by issuing government bonds.

Railway construction is included in the infrastructure industry.
Railway construction is included in the infrastructure industry.

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