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11 Examples of Utilities

 , July 15, 2020
A utility is a business that provides a resource to your door as a service. As utilities connect to each house this tends to be an expensive type of infrastructure. As such, utilities are natural monopolies whereby it doesn't make sense to have multiple providers for each home. For this reason, utilities are either owned by governments or are heavily regulated to prevent firms from abusing their monopoly position. The following are common examples of a utility.

Water

Water services that connect to homes and businesses.

Sewage

Services that take back water that has been used such that it has become waste.

Electricity

Electricity generation and distribution with infrastructure known as a grid. In many cases, a rooftop solar system is also offered as a utility service.

Gas

Natural gas is a type of energy that is commonly delivered to the home as a utility. This can be cheaper than electricity for heating.

Cable

Historically, television was delivered to the home with coaxial or fiber optic cables. This is likely to fade away due to a process of digital convergence whereby cables to the home are used for internet that can be used to access streaming media.

Internet

Internet services including mobile and wired access.

Communication

Communication services such as mobile phones and home phones. This is also converging with internet.

Postal

The postal service is a global system that delivers mail and packages to residences and businesses. This is technically a utility but isn't always listed as such.

District Heating

Services that distribute heat to a large number of buildings in an area using a system of insulated pipes. This has many types and has advanced over the years. The most modern variations use renewable energy or heat that would have otherwise gone to waste.

District Cooling

Services that deliver cool water to buildings as a form of air conditioning. This tends to be an energy efficient system that uses a nearby body of water as a heat sink.

Computing

Cloud computing is often described as a utility because its use can be scaled up and down on demand. As the internet reaches the home, a large number of internet services could be viewed as a utility. For example, an on-demand artificial intelligence platform could be viewed as a utility that is available to any home or business.
Overview: Utilities
Type
Definition
A service that reaches homes and businesses that is available on-demand such that resource usage can be scaled up and down.
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