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Digital infrastructures are called „digital“ not only for their technology base but they are also digital in their impact – they are either available or not.

There is no productive economy capable of persisting in international competition without reliable support through digital infrastructures. High-performance fiber-glass infrastructures and ultra-modern, high-performance data processing centers are competitive advantages of political economies which enable digital services like cloud computing or the use of mobile networking services.

The future belongs to the companies which have adaptability and can quickly respond to changing conditions of the market. Digital infrastructures provide the location-base so that these companies can develop and expand their innovation competences.

Frankfurt and the RheinMain region are leaders in Germany and in the international competition with London and Amsterdam. Whichever metropolitan region wins in the future is defined today through innovation competence and the resulting investments.

The demands on digital infrastructures in a metropolitan region have fundamentally changed during the last decades. Up until the year 2000 the possibilities of technical development and operation were more aimed at meeting stationary existing demand. Nowadays, the image has changed to a mobile-linked holistic consideration of user requirements, services and infrastructures.

 

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Abbildung Einflussfaktoren zum Aufbau digitaler Infrastrukturen, eigene Darstellung,
G. Simon, 2012

These changes are reflected in the public media and have become a structure characteristic of our society. Structural reforms, an increasing networking that gioes beyond organizations, companies and frontiers – an increasing interlocking of international delivery and performing processes in the competition of the best talents – all that has established a process of change in metropolitan regions, which continually extends the requirement profile in quality and quantity to the locally existing digital infrastructures.

Without reliable and usable digital infrastructures in a metropolitan region those closely-linked processes of delivery and performance would not be manageable. Legal, financial and personal influences affect the shaping of a digital infrastructure in a metropolitan region.

The special characteristics of digital infrastructures with which these differ from other infrastructures are described through the following aspects:

  • 100-percent dependence of electricity,
  • large interdependences of the core area infrastructure among themselves
  • local presence and
  • high criticality in general sense, that is costumer-related according to the usability and offer-related according to the security of supply.

In relation to its general conditions it is to be noted:

  • convergence of the technologies and processes, together with high dynamics of innovation,
  • profound, permanent change of the socio-ecological general conditions as structural characteristics and
  • high dynamic of innovation.

The following topics reflect the structure of digital infrastructures: