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Infrastructure Portal
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Welcome to Wikipedia's infrastructure portal, your gateway to the subject of infrastructure
and its monumental importance for everyday society and the economy.


Infrastructure is the fundamental facilities and systems serving a country, city, or other area, including the services and facilities necessary for its economy to function. Infrastructure is composed of public and private physical improvements such as roads, bridges, tunnels, water supply, sewers, electrical grids, telecommunications (including Internet connectivity and broadband speeds). In general, it has also been defined as "the physical components of interrelated systems providing commodities and services essential to enable, sustain, or enhance societal living conditions."

There are two general types of ways to view infrastructure, hard or soft. Hard infrastructure refers to the physical networks necessary for the functioning of a modern industry. This includes roads, bridges, railways, etc. Soft infrastructure refers to all the institutions that maintain the economic, health, social, and cultural standards of a country.This includes educational programs, parks and recreational facilities, law enforcement agencies, and emergency services.

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Broadband Internet access, often shortened to just broadband, is a high data rate connection to the Internet—typically contrasted with dial-up access using a 56 kbit/s modem. Dial-up modems are limited to a bitrate of about 60 kbit/s and require the dedicated use of a telephone line — whereas broadband technologies supply more than this rate and generally without disrupting telephone use. Broadband penetration is now treated as a key economic indicator.

Although various minimum bandwidths have been used in definitions of broadband, ranging from 64 kbit/s up to 4.0 Mbit/s, defined broadband as having download data transfer rates equal to or faster than 256 kbit/s, while the United States (US) Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as of 2010, defines "Basic Broadband" as data transmission speeds of at least 4 megabits per second, downstream (from the Internet to the user’s computer) and 1 Mbit/s upstream (from the user’s computer to the Internet). The trend is to raise the threshold of the broadband definition as the marketplace rolls out faster services. Data rates are defined in terms of maximum download because network and server conditions significantly affect the maximum speeds that can be achieved and because common consumer broadband technologies such as ADSL are "asymmetric"—supporting much lower maximum upload data rate than download.

The standards group CCITT defined broadband service in 1988 as requiring transmission channels capable of supporting bit rates greater than the primary rate which ranged from about 1.5 to 2 Mbit/s. The US National Information Infrastructure project during the 1990s brought the term into public policy debates. Broadband became a marketing buzzword for telephone and cable companies to sell their more expensive higher data rate products, especially for Internet access. In the US National Broadband Plan of 2009 it was defined as "Internet access that is always on and faster than the traditional dial-up access". The same agency has defined it differently through the years. Even though information signals generally travel nearly the speed of light in the medium no matter what the bit rate, higher rate services are often marketed as faster or higher speeds. Consumers are also targeted by advertisements for peak transmission rates, while actual end-to-end rates observed in practice can be lower due to other factors.

The standard broadband technologies in most areas are ADSL and cable Internet. Newer technologies in use include VDSL and pushing optical fibre connections closer to the subscriber in both telephone and cable plants. Fibre-optic communication, while only recently being used in fibre to the premises and fibre to the curb schemes, has played a crucial role in enabling Broadband Internet access by making transmission of information over larger distances much more cost-effective than copper wire technology. In a few areas not served by cable or ADSL, community organizations have begun to install Wi-Fi networks, and in some cities and towns local governments are installing municipal Wi-Fi networks. As of 2006, broadband mobile Internet access has become available at the consumer level in some countries, using the HSDPA and EV-DO technologies. The newest technology being deployed for mobile and stationary broadband access is WiMAX.


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Thames Barrier, a flood barrier located downstream of central London


Graphical phases in the life cycle of a facility
Public Vs. Private Provision
Infrastructure Systems
Cash Flow

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William Barclay Parsons, Pach Brothers photo portrait.jpg

William Barclay Parsons (April 15, 1859 – May 9, 1932) was an American civil engineer. He founded the firm that became Parsons Brinckerhoff, one of the largest American civil engineering firms. Parsons received a bachelor's degree from Columbia College in 1879, and a second from Columbia's School of Mines in 1882. From 1882 to the end of 1885, he was in the maintenance of way department of the New York, Lake Erie and Western Railroad. His first books had to do with railroad problems (Turnouts; Exact Formulae for Their Determination, 1884, and Track, A Complete Manual of Maintenace of Way, 1886), and this interest in rail transportation continued throughout his life.

Parsons designed the Cape Cod Canal as Chief Engineer. He was also Chief Engineer of the New York Rapid Transit Commission, and as such responsible for the construction of the Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT) subway line. In 1900 he published an account of his work as Chief Surveyor of China's Canton–Hankou Railway. Acting for an American syndicate, Parsons accepted the direction of a survey of 1,000 miles of railway in China, primarily on the line from Hankow to Canton. The party passed through the then closed province of Hu-nan, and the success of the entire venture depended not alone on the engineering skill but primarily upon the ability of the leader of the expedition to meet the extremely difficult diplomatic problems involved. Nevertheless, the mission was accomplished and the small group of American engineers, to the surprise of many of their friends, returned in safety. Parsons told the story of this adventure in An American Engineer in China" (1900).



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Critical infrastructureBridgeBroadbandBrownfieldsDamsEmergency serviceFloodgateHazardous wasteHospitalIncinerationLandfillLeveeParkPublic healthPublic housingPublic utilityPublic schoolPortRecyclingSolid wasteTelecommunicationsTunnelWaste management

Electrical InfrastructureAlternating currentBatteryDirect currentDemand responseDeregulationDistributionElectrical gridGenerationIndependent Power ProducerLoad managementNatural monopolyPower outagePower plantRegional transmission organizationSmart gridSubstationTransformerTransmission system operatorTransmission

Energy infrastructureBiofuelCarbon footprintCoal productionEnergy efficiencyEnergy lawEthanol fuelFossil fuelHydropowerKyoto ProtocolNuclear powerOil refineryPhotovoltaicsPollutionRenewable energyStorageWind power

Transportation infrastructureAviationAirlineAirportBargeBusCargoCommuter railControlled-access highwayFerryFreightHighwayInter-city railIntermodal freight transportJust-in-time (business)Limited-access roadLock (water navigation)LogisticsPublic transportRail transportRapid transitRight-of-wayShippingSupply chainTransport

Water infrastructureCombined sewerDiffuserDrinking waterGroundwaterMacerationPipeReverse osmosisSeptic tankSewageSewage treatmentSewage collection and disposalSewer overflowSewage pumpingStormwaterSurface waterSurface runoffWastewaterWater pollutionWater supplyWater treatmentWater tower

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