Microsoft has called on European governments to ensure they deliver low-cost broadband networks to support cloud computing.
In a speech on "Technology leadership in the 21st century: How cloud computing will change our world", Brad Smith, Microsoft general counsel, said, "Cloud computing can only deliver the full benefits when there is ubiquitous and affordable broadband access. Continuity of access will encourage consumers to make greater use of cloud computing services and SMEs to focus more on developing new content and services."
Smith called on Europe to open up wireless networks. "The key bottleneck for the deployment of wireless technologies is the lack of available spectrum suited to wide area coverage," he said.
He argued that regulators should open up the so-called TV white spaces - the gaps left between TV stations - which represent substantial underused capacity which could form a powerful complement to spectrum released under the Digital Dividend.
Smith called on European governments to establish a coherent legal framework applicable to the connected world, including the cloud. "This is needed to avoid data of European citizens and cloud providers being subject to a fractured and, at times, conflicting set of legal rules and principles."
He said competing and conflicting laws within the EU and internationally present an obstacle to the delivery of cloud services. "Cloud computing will only reach its full potential if providers can establish datacentres and offer services in multiple jurisdictions, and cloud users can enjoy the benefits of these services without fear that each step will invite competing claims of jurisdiction and government access to data."