Understanding Infrastructure: Types, Functions, Benefits, and Roles

Understanding Infrastructure – To achieve success, of course we need a solid and strong infrastructure. Often times, we hear the term in our daily life. If you hear the term infrastructure, of course the first thing that comes to mind is buildings, facilities, and things related to development. \

But, you need to know that in a business, infrastructure is also one of the important things that must be there. So, what is the role of infrastructure in running a business? What does infrastructure have to do with the business we will run?

The question may appear in our minds when we hear the term infrastructure in a business. Because, we often think that infrastructure and business are two different things. But apparently, there is an understanding of business infrastructure. Well, to understand that, let’s discuss one by one about the two areas. The first step we will do is to know the meaning of infrastructure.

Definition of Infrastructure

What is the meaning of infrastructure in general? So, if viewed from the general understanding of infrastructure, the meaning is all basic structures and facilities, both physical and social, for example buildings, electricity supply, roads, and others that are needed for the operation of community and company activities.

As for other opinions that reveal that infrastructure is all kinds of facilities needed by the general public in order to support various community activities in their daily lives. In other words, infrastructure is all facilities, whether physical or non-physical that are built by the government or individuals to meet the basic needs of society in the economic and social spheres.

Generally, infrastructure refers to the physical development of public facilities, such as roads, ports, schools, hospitals, waste treatment, clean water, airports, and many more. In addition, infrastructure can also refer to technical matters such as supporting economic activities by providing modes of transportation, distribution of goods and services, etc.

Understanding Infrastructure According to Experts

In order to better understand the meaning of infrastructure, here are some opinions from experts about what infrastructure is.

1. N. Gregory Mankiw

The definition of infrastructure according to N. Gregory Mankiw in economics, which is a form of public capital or public capital consisting of bridges, public roads, sewer systems, and others as one of the investments made by the government.

2. Neil S. Grigg

The definition of infrastructure according to Neil S. Grigg is a physical system that provides means of irrigation, drainage, transportation, buildings, and physical facilities that are needed to be able to meet various basic human needs, both economic and social needs.

3. Robert J. Kodoatie

The understanding of infrastructure according to Robert J. Kodoatie is a system that supports the economic and social system which at the same time becomes an intermediary for the environmental system. Where the system can be used as one of the bases in making policies.

Types of Infrastructure

After understanding what infrastructure is reviewed from the definitions and opinions of experts. Now we will discuss the types of infrastructure to be able to have a more comprehensive discussion. Understanding any type of infrastructure can give us a more detailed explanation in understanding what infrastructure really is.

If referring to the understanding of infrastructure as an asset in the form of physical or non-physical and can support the life of the community in general in social and economic terms. You also need to understand that infrastructure is also divided into several types. Here are some types of infrastructure that you need to understand:

1. Hard Infrastructure

The type of hard infrastructure is infrastructure that we can see in terms of its physical form in real form. Usually this type of infrastructure includes roads, ports, airports, irrigation canals, and other types of public facilities.

2. Non-Physical Hard Infrastructure

If according to the type of non-physical hard infrastructure, it includes various efforts made to support facilities and infrastructure in general that are useful to support various social and economic activities of the general public. For example, related to the procurement of clean water, telecommunication networks, and the provision of electricity supply, as well as efforts related to the procurement of energy supply sources.

3. Software Infrastructure

The type of soft infrastructure is all things that play a role in supporting the smooth running of various social and economic activities of the wider community. Where it is not visible in physical form and its existence is visible to the naked eye. Generally, it moves within a rule, system, and also norms provided by the government and other NGOs. For example, the application of good and correct work ethics, public services, regulations made by the government include laws that contain rules on commercial law and others.

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Infrastructure Components

You need to understand that infrastructure also has several types of components in it. What is meant by the component in this case is included in the infrastructure itself. So, what kind of components are there in the infrastructure? The following is a complete explanation.

When referring to the American Public Works Associations, the infrastructure component actually includes all types of public facilities that developed societies need in their daily lives. For example, the provision of clean water and its management or water treatment, the provision of flood control, waste water management systems, the provision of cross-water navigation facilities.

In addition, there is also the development of transportation progress that includes public facilities in the form of water, air, and sea transportation. Then also various other supporting components for the advancement of the economic and social life of the community in general.

If viewed from the policy regulations, infrastructure components are divided into three types of groups, namely:

a. Infrastructure Components That Have Inputs

The characteristics of this type of component focus on the type of infrastructure that can provide results or input for the economic and social conditions of the community. For example, the supply of clean water sources and electricity sources in the daily life of the community in general.

b. Infrastructure Characteristics Components That Take Output

The characteristics of this type of component focus on taking the output obtained from the activities of the general public. For example, garbage and waste disposal systems, drainage support systems or water channels, etc.

c. Combined Infrastructure Components of Both

The characteristics of this type of component usually focus on a combination of the two types of components above. Where this one component focuses on the process of giving and also taking something from the daily life of the community. For example, the use of telecommunication networks and others.

Here the community will provide an input to be able to access infrastructure components that support the community’s social and economic activities. For example, community activities in paying a telephone bill. That way, the community will obtain output in the form of telecommunication network access as a support for their social and economic activities.

Infrastructure Functions

In fact, infrastructure functions as a support for the activities of the general public. Where infrastructure functions to facilitate and support the smooth running of social and economic activities of the community, such as the distribution of goods and services.

The following are some examples of infrastructure along with its functions:

a. A bridge serves as a link between one place and another. The place can be a region or a city.
b. According to the function, the road is divided into several groups. Starting from local roads, arterial roads, collector roads, and neighborhood roads. For long-distance travel with a high average speed, usually use arterial roads. As for infrequent medium trips with medium average speed, usually use the collector road. Then for short distance travel with a low average speed usually use the surrounding road.
c. The house functions as a place to live and a place to shelter and do various activities.

Infrastructure Benefits

Infrastructure turns out to have many benefits for us. Among them are benefits in the economic, social, and cultural fields. For benefits in the social field, infrastructure acts as a means of communication. If there is no infrastructure, then a region will be isolated and unable to communicate or socialize with other regions. Where the region is isolated, the network will be disconnected from the outer region. So that the life of the community in the area will be disrupted.

Then the benefits of infrastructure in the economic field, namely as a means to carry out various buying and selling transactions. Not only that, the infrastructure also functions as a means of connection in the distribution of production and services. When the infrastructure runs smoothly, then all economic activities will also go smoothly. So that the community can live in peace and the economy of the community will also increase.

Lastly, the benefits of infrastructure in the field of culture are beneficial to be one of the cultures themselves. For example, traditional houses. In that case, the infrastructure in the form of traditional houses is built in accordance with the culture that exists in that place.

Impact of Infrastructure Development

The impact of infrastructure development is that it can be a driving force for the economic growth of the community in general. On the other hand, economic growth can also be one of the pressures on infrastructure. So that positive economic growth can encourage an increase in the community’s need for various types of infrastructure. The role of infrastructure here is as a driving force in the economic sector and can be a driver for the development of related sectors as a multiplier. In the end, it will create a new business field and provide output derived from production as input for consumption.

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In an economic development will have an impact on the economic growth of the community and also the quality of life. Economic growth itself will influence investment. While improving the quality of life will influence the well-being of the community in general. Because, with the development of infrastructure can reduce poverty and unemployment in a country.

As one of the supporters of community well-being in general and development investment, we do need various types of infrastructure. Starting from road network infrastructure, telecommunications network, electricity network, clean water, and others. There is an increase in the electricity sub-sector, the transportation sub-sector, the road sub-sector, and the communication sub-sector due to the increase in demand from each sub-sector. In addition, the increase in the sub-sector is balanced by the amount of infrastructure development investment in each of the sub-sectors.

An example is the community’s need for electricity. Indonesia itself is experiencing problems in terms of electricity supply. Where the electricity supply cannot meet the needs of the community. Then it resulted in blackouts in various regions alternately. In fact, electricity is not only needed by private homes, but is also very needed in the industrial sector which will have an impact on the community’s economy as well. Therefore, the electricity network infrastructure is one of the components that is quite important in supporting community activities and is very influential on economic problems.

The same goes for road network infrastructure development. Where road development is no less important than other infrastructure development. Because it is also needed as a connecting tool between one place and another. With road access that is easier to reach, it will influence the strategic elements of a place and the ease of access will influence many private parties who want to invest.

With the presence of private parties that want to invest, it will affect the economic growth quite rapidly. Not only that, with the development of infrastructure such as the road network, it will provide benefits for the well-being of the community. Because, they are freed from the difficulties of communication networks and get various access facilities for the community itself.

The telecommunications network also has an influence on the well-being of the community. One of the proofs is the existence of various types of private television stations until now. This proves that there is quite a lot of private investment in Indonesia, especially in the field of telecommunications. Especially in the era of globalization like now. Where telecommunication is very needed as one of the supporting tools for the success of a country. As we can see that the demand for telecommunication facilities is also increasing.

Not only that, clean water facilities also have a very important and strategic role to improve the standard of living and also the level of society. In addition, the facility is also a driving factor for the well-being of the community in general. However, in its preparation both in terms of quality, quantity, and continuity, it has not been running continuously. On the other hand, the demand for clean water that is used as a health standard also continues to increase without being balanced by efforts to improve the quality of services.

The Role of Infrastructure

Infrastructure plays a very important role as one of the driving wheels for economic growth and development. The presence of adequate infrastructure is very necessary. Facilities and infrastructure in physical form or often referred to as infrastructure is a very important part of the community service system.

Physical facilities are very vital to support various economic activities, government, industry, as well as social and economic activities of the community. Starting from road transportation, energy systems, school and office buildings, to telecommunication networks, clean water service networks, houses of worship, and others. All of that requires adequate infrastructure support.

Based on the Medium Term Development Plan of Pacitan District from 2011 to 2016, district infrastructure becomes a strategic issue that is prioritized in development planning in the districts. The long-term development policy is a continuous improvement effort towards:

1. Poverty alleviation
2. Natural resource management
3. Quality and accessibility of education and health
4. Community access to facilities and public services
5. Improvement of basic infrastructure development
6. Community access to clean water
7. Dealing with disaster prone areas