Nationally recognized Government/Regulatory Affairs Expert and Advocate in California
Fields of Expertise: Regulatory matters relating to Sharing Economy, Transportation Network Companies (Lyft, Uber), Transportation Policy, Telecommunications, Broadband, Telehealth, E-Rate, California Teleconnect Fund, LifeLine, Wireless Communications, Public Safety Communications, Cable, Digital Literacy, Smart Grid, Renewable Energy, Electric Vehicles, Autonomous Vehicles, and general California public utilities law.
I have forged deep ties in the communications, energy and transportation industries throughout my regulatory career, and have developed an expansive local, state, and Federal government and regulatory agency network. This extensive network offers me the unique ability to assist companies in understanding governmental processes, advocate innovative policies in California and in Washington, D.C., and expedite business and infrastructure projects.
As head of Government Relations and Communications for Golden State Network, I am assisting the State of California in building a $3.7 B statewide open access middle mile network to enhance affordable broadband throughout the State.
As CEO of R36 Solutions, a national consulting group, I am assisting clients in business strategy, business development and applications for federal grants in broadband and energy.
As a Governor Schwarzenegger appointee to the California’s Public Utilities Commission, I become the agency’s point person for telecom, broadband, digital literacy, and Internet policies involving work with the Federal Communications Commission, Dept. of Commerce's NTIA, Department of Energy, and Dept. of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service from 2006-2009. I initiated a multi million California Advanced Services Fund to deliver broadband infrastructure to areas without broadband. I helped lead efforts to form and stand up the California Telehealth Network with a multi million dollar FCC grant. I led successful efforts to update the state’s telecommunications regulatory framework, reduce consumer complaint backlogs, and bring modern telephone devices to the deaf and disabled community.
In energy, as the Assigned Commissioner, I led nation-leading energy dockets on Smart Grid, Electric Vehicles, Dynamic Pricing and Demand Response. I was proud to cast the key vote to approve the California Solar Initiative at my first CPUC voting meeting. I continue to be active in energy matters, with an emphasis on electric vehicles, microgrids, renewable energy, and wildfire issues.
As interim General Counsel of Sidecar, outside CPUC regulatory lobbyist to Waymo and Lyft, I have impacted the crafting of new regulations and laws for ride sharing and autonomous vehicles.
As an appointee of President Bill Clinton, I served as a Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission in 1996-1999, working to implement the Telecom Act of 1996, initiate the first spectrum auctions, license many new wireless services, and bring forward the digital television transition.
As Comcast’s VP Government Affairs, I worked with broad coalitions that achieved legislative success in minimizing regulation of IP-enabled services and maintaining a cable industry tax exemption resulting in $15M in negative taxes. I led the company's California community investment program. As General Counsel and VP Gov't Affairs of Broadband Office, I managed legal, regulatory, HR and real estate groups at a Kleiner Perkins start-up in the IP-enabled broadband and apps space.
Legal and Lobbying
Telecommunications, Broadband, and Internet Regulation & Policy
Licensing, CASF Grants, Mergers, Rulemaking, Complaints
Represent clients before California PUC, Federal Communications Commission
Transportation Law and Policy
Transportation Network Companies, Common Carrier Regulation, Vessel Common Carriers
Assist clients like Sidecar, Airbnb, Waymo navigate the regulatory environment.
Smart Grid, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Climate Change, Microgrids
Electric Vehicle and Autonomous Vehicle Regulation
Work with clients to bring forward EVs and AVs.
California Wildfire regulatory matters
Monitor the wildfire situation involving utilities.
Selected Published Articles
"FCC Action Offers Electric Utilities Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity to Accelerate Modernization of Critical Operations"
Denton’s Global Smart Cities & Connected Communities Spring Summer 2020, at page 43.
“The Broadband Mapping Flaw that is Harming Education and Healthcare”
“Financing Telecommunications Projects in Asia: A Promising Regulatory Perspective”,
"Bridging Digital Technologies and Regulatory Paradigms: Interesting Times At The FCC"
By FCC Commissioner Rachelle Chong, Remarks To Bridging Digital Technologies And Regulatory Paradigms Conference, Berkeley, California: June 27, 1997 published on Gifts of Speech
"Speech of the Roscoe L. Barrow Memorial Award Winner"
Rachelle Chong, Speech of the Roscoe L. Barrow Memorial Award Winner, 16 Hastings Comm. & Ent. L.J. 428 (1994).
Available at: https://repository.uchastings.edu/hastings_comm_ent_law_journal/vol16/iss3/2
"Trends in Communications and Other Musings About Our Future"
Request Commissioner Chong to speak at your event
Law Office of Rachelle Chong
Solo practitioner providing legal and lobbying services to selected clients.
July 2013 – Present
Provides legal and registered lobbyist services for a broad array of clients before the California PUC. and FCC. Career regulatory lawyer before California Public Utilities Commission and Federal Communications Commission.
Key regulatory counsel to one of the first three Transportation Network Companies in the nation.
Senior Regulatory Counsel
February 2015 – December 2015
Responsible for regulatory relations with state agencies, local agencies and airports.
California Asian Chamber of Commerce
Small Business Policy Organization
May 2011 – 2020
Board member for California Asian Chamber of Commerce, headquartered in Sacramento, California. The CalAsian chamber represents 400,000 small businesses owned by Asian Americans in California.
Federal Communications Bar Association, Northern California Chapter
Association of federal communications counsel
Jan 2010 – Dec 2015
Planned quarterly programs with two co-chairs in the telecommunications, broadcast, broadband, wireless policy areas.
California Emerging Technology Fund
Non profit organization dedicated to closing the Digital Divide
Special Counsel; former Chair, Board of Experts
2006 – present
Chair of Board of Experts (2006-2013) for non profit organization formed by California Public Utilities Commission. Outside Special Counsel from 2014-present. A non profit organization established by the CPUC, CETF is dedicated to bringing broadband access and adoption to all of California.
Ridesharing provider - one of original three companies
Interim General Counsel
Jun 2014 – Jan 2015
Represented Transportation Network Company and oversaw all legal, regulatory, policy, insurance, and strategy as Interim General Counsel during time when TNCs as legal entities under CA , Seattle, D.C. and Chicago regulatory law were established.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area
Mentoring non profit
Jun 2012 – Jul 2014
Board member to San Francisco non profit organization that provides mentoring from Big Brothers and Big Sisters to at risk youth, ages 6-16. We inspire our children to stay in school and have positive social relationships. On the board, I served on the 2013 Gala Committee, helping deliver our most successful Gala to date in terms of fund raising. I also serve on the Development Committee.
Jan 2013 – Jun 2014
Columnist at Techwire.net covering federal policy relating to broadband, telecommunications and the Internet. Also covers the start up tech scene in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, with emphasis on the Internet, communications, and energy.
Comcast, West Region
Largest cable TV, broadband, voice and home security provider in the US
Vice President, Government Affairs, California Region
May 2011 – Jan 2013
Led California Government Affairs team of twelve for California Region for Comcast. Responsibilities include representing Comcast at the California Public Utilities Commission, California Energy Commission, California State Legislature, and local franchise authorities, plus all Comcast community development investment.
Bay Area Council
May 2011 – Dec 2012
Board member to Bay Area Council, a business-sponsored public policy advocacy organization for the nine-county Bay Area. The Council advocates for a strong economy, a vital business environment, and a better quality of life for everyone who lives here. 275 of the largest employers in the region support the Bay Area Council.
California Technology Agency
State CIO office
Special Counsel, Advanced Information & Communications Technologies
Dec 2009 – Apr 2011
I led work on issues relating to broadband, telehealth, Next Generation 9-1-1, public safety communications, digital literacy, smart grid, health information exchange, and electronic medical records.
California Telehealth Network
Telehealth network serving rural health care providers
Secretary, Member of the Board
2007 – Apr 2011
Assisted in writing FCC application for grant that formed largest telehealth network in the nation for a state. Served as Secretary and Member of the Board representing CPUC in 2007-2009. In 2015-2016, represented CTN as outside Regulatory Counsel.
California Public Utilities Commission
State constitutional agency
Jan 2006 – Dec 2009
The CPUC regulates privately owned telecommunications, electric, natural gas, water, railroad, passenger transportation companies, including authorizing statewide video franchises. The five commissioners are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. Led most of the telecommunications and broadband work, and energy dockets for smart grid, electric vehicles, and demand response.
National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners
Association for state utility commissioners and their professional staff
Jan 2006 – Dec 2009
Leading member of National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) Committee on Telecommunications. The Telecommunications Committee provides a critical venue for State utility commissioners to analyze trends and share best practices. The Committee works closely with the Federal Communications Commission, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, the Office of the United States Trade Representative, and the FBI.
California Broadband Task Force
Governor's Appointee to California Broadband Task Force
2006 – Jan 2008
The California Broadband Task Force was formed by Governor Schwarzenegger to study barriers to deployment of broadband in California in late 2006. The 16 member blue ribbon task force was appointed by the Governor. The Task Force issued a report in January 2008 with recommendations to the Governor. As a CPUC Commissioner, I put into action many of the recommendations by the Task Force.
Authorize.net formerly Lightbridge, Inc.
Company specializing in online payment solutions
2000 – 2007
Independent Director for Lightbridge, Inc., which became Authorize.net. Served on audit committee and chaired compensation committee.
Association of Public Television Stations
Policy association representing public television stations
2001 – 2006
Served as trustee for Association of Public Television Stations (APTS). The APTS is a nonprofit membership organization whose mission is to conduct – in concert with member stations – advocacy, planning, research and communications activities in order to achieve strong and financially sound noncommercial television and advanced digital services for the American people. My role was to assist in regulatory strategies before the FCC and the US Congress to ensure sustainability of the members in the face of great change in broadcasting regulation and technology.
Broadband Office, Inc.
Start up Carrier Providing Broadband, Voice and Other Apps to Large Commercial Buildings
General Counsel and VP Government Affairs
Jan 2000 – May 2001
Led all legal and regulatory efforts of this start-up carrier of IP-enabled voice and Internet services to large commercial buildings, funded by Kleiner Perkins and large REITS. Supervised team of 14 lawyers and all outside counsel to handle all regulatory, real estate, HR and labor matters in 15 states.
Wireless Tech Company
1998 – 2000
Independent Board Member for start up company developing back office systems for wireless phone companies. Served on Audit Committee, and actively led CEO salary negotiations..
Jan 1998 – Dec 1999
Regulatory practice before California Public Utilities Commission and Federal Communications Commission. Represented telecommunications and Internet companies, with particular emphasis on international clients.
Federal Communications Commission
May 1994 – Nov 1997
Appointed by President Clinton to the 5-member FCC in May 1994. This seat is confirmed by the US Senate. Served from1994-1997. Major decisions before the FCC during this era included the first wireless auctions, launch of several wireless services, finalization of digital TV transition rules, implementation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and children's television rules.
Graham & James
San Francisco International Law Firm
Sep 1987 – Apr 1994
Regulatory law practice before the California Public Utilities Commission and Federal Communications Commission representing primarily telecommunications clients, including four major wireless carriers and paging companies.
Kadison Pfaelzer Woodard Quinn & Rossi
Telecom and Energy Law Firm
Sep 1984 – Aug 1987
Represented primarily broadcaster and telecommunications clients at Washington, D.C. based law firm. Also worked in energy area before the FERC.
Wireless Technology Company
Board member, August 2018- May 2020
Served as an independent Board member to Anterix, previously pdvWireless, a publicly traded company.
UC Hastings College of the Law
JD Law 1981 - 1984
Activities: Editor in Chief, Comm/Ent Law Journal; Vice President, Associated Students of Hastings.
University of California, Berkeley
BS Political Science and Journalism 1977 - 1981
Activities: Phi Beta Kappa.