About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

24 February 2006

Who Broke Up AT&T

As some of you know, lat year, I participated in an electronic law course given by Prof Julien Hofman. That was essentially e-Law 1. Anyway, yesterday afternoon, I wanted to talk to Prof. Hofman on a separate issue regarding contract law, and ended up participating in his e-Law 2 class. The class is very different to most courses offered at UCT (well it is a MLB/MPhil level course) where the students are going to tackle a specific part of electronic law and deliver a report of approximately 150 page (this can then later be used as their minor dissertation). This report will also be condensed down to approximately 30 pages, and all the summaries will be combined to create a book on the electronic law landscape in South Africa. While I do not have the time to participate in this process, I am still invited to attend the seminars etc. making up the class.

Anyway, yesterday afternoon, the lecture was given by a Mr Ray G Besing (pronounced Bee-sing), who was introduced as a US lawyer and author of the book "Who Broke Up AT&T". He gave a very interesting lecture on monopolies, the legal and the economics, with particular focus on Telecom monopolies - esp considering that telecommunications have become a cornerstone in modern life. His comparisons to the price of Telkom rates to other countries was not new, but he stressed that it is up to the public to force monopolies to lower prices, because ultimately, regulatory bodies like ICASA have a mandate to serve to public. The major part of his lecture revolved around the breakup of the AT&T monopoly, a case he is familiar with simply because he was the lead lawyer in two of the three major cases involving AT&T and their breakup.

Prof Hofman and Mr Besing intend to run a course on telecoms law - a course that could be very interesting and should be relevant to many people in South Africa ...

22 February 2006


Since Sunday morning, the Western Cape has been experiencing powercuts - primarily because of a breakdown of a turbine at the Koeberg Nuclear power plant, but also due to other capacity issues. Off course, Eskom has been warning of the potential problems for years - and has been proposing a new nuclear power plant for the last 5 or so years to alleviate some of these issues, but no would listen. What is really ironic off course, is that the turbine was due for scheduled maintenance next week, and the Monday Paper (UCT run newspaper) actually has an article encouraging energy conservation to alleviate power problems.

Anyway, I meant to phlog about my birthday braai held on Saturday, hours before the start of the blackouts - but lack of power has meant a lack of network availability, which has also implied a very slow network once it is back up ... so I will not waste precious bandwidth on such frivolity ;)