- Firm-specific infrastructure
macro-economicsthe term infrastructureusually refers to public infrastructure. That is, that which provides or supports state services. There is also firm-specific infrastructure such as factories, private roads, capital equipment, and other infrastructural capital assets under private ownership.
The related term "
firm-specific human capital" applies to the development of individual capital, social capitaland instructional capitalto specifically enable the activities of a particular firm or enterprise.
May be critical
critical infrastructureincludes some public and some firm-specific assets, for example, a private electric power utilitywould include assets such as transmission towers and transformers. For purposes of determining if they are "critical", it is their function, not their ownership, that matters.
Types of infrastructure
Special terminology has evolved to deal with infrastructure that is devoted to information and communication. In this area in particular,
public infrastructuremay rely on a large number of private operators, e.g. Internet service providers, telcos, computer supportand boot imageservice providers. The management of these assets is usually described in terms like:
total cost of ownershipand of operations
technology lifecycle management
information technology asset management
supply chain management
technology deployment methodology
service level agreement.
According to Harry Zarek, a Canadian
systems integrationexpert, these and "many other concepts are important to running a modern technology infrastructure." Such assets all would be considered firm-specific infrastructure.
Accountingfor firm-specific infrastructure investment varies by jurisdiction. The GAAPframework is the most generally applied, though not followed everywhere.
In Canada, one focus of
accounting reformefforts is to match Capital Cost Allowancefor asset depreciationto either actual, or desirable, asset lifecycleof each type of asset. There are numerous tradeoffs in policy including the dangers of encouraging wasteif assets too easily become a " writeoff", or failing to keep up with the technology of a rapidly changing industrial base.
With respect to information technology in particular this is a cogent concern, as toxic
e-wasteis becoming an increasing problem everywhere computers and cell phones are used.
Canadathe rapid writeoff of new technology has been linked to the goal of sustainability, so that only those assets which aid in energy conservation, materials conservationand waste reductionquality for favourable accounting treatment. "With respect to public infrastructure, this goal is being pursued a different way - via best practice exchangein sustainable municipal infrastructure, and government performance auditing."
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