Mike Lawrie is one of the people who started the Internet here in South Africa. Along with his staff in the Computer centre of Rhodes University, situated in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape Province, engineered the first connection to the Internet. It was with the help of Randy Bush, an American, that they were abe to connect. They used Randy Bush's Fidonet node at his home in Portland, Oregon and connected it with the Control Data Cyber computer at Rhodes University wich used a Dial-up e-mail connection.
NRF - UNINET
The NRF (National Research Foundation) decided to reassess it's role as the seed funder in the deployment of a network of leased lines and multi-protocol multiplexers. These inter-connected with a number of institutional networks across the country. UNINET,an Internet Service and IT Solution Provider company , was granted a permit to carry a "third party traffic" within the group on its leased lines, since universities were regarded collectively as a "common interest group". So in 1994 when Mike Laurie became . with help from Mike Lawrie, UNINET moved from propriety protocols to Internet protocols. The costs for Internet Service Provision was high, that is why NRF decided to reassess it's role in the entire operation.
In 1998, the President of NRF, Dr. Khotso Mokhele, announced to Vice-Chancellors of universities and technikons that a future without UNINET was possible and that they should prepare for it. Dr. Khotso Mokhele said this because the continued provision of Internet access services with other institutes was not part of the NRF's mandate and the NRF would not continue to operate under UNINET.