New CPUC appointee has extensive telecom experience

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Jan. 13, 2006 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

 Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has named Rachel Chong, a former member of the Federal Communications Commission with more than 21 years of experience in telecommunications law and policy, to the California Public Utilities Commission.

The appointment of Chong ensures that the CPUC will continue to have at least one member with a strong interest in telecommunications, with the departure last month of the commissioner Chong is replacing, Susan Kennedy, the governor’s new chief of staff.

Chong, 46, of San Francisco, served on the FCC from 1994 to 1997.  During her tenure, the FCC implemented the landmark Telecommunications Act of 1996 and rules relating to wireless and satellite services.  More recently, she has owned a firm in which she served as a mediator, arbitrator and expert witness.

"Rachel’s more than two decades of experience in telecommunications law in conjunction with her exceptional understanding of the regulatory environment will be a tremendous asset to the Public Utilities Commission," said Schwarzenegger.  "She brings a unique perspective to this important regulatory body and will work to protect consumers while keeping California’s economy growing an ensuring that the state continues to lead the world in technology development and innovation."

This will be a significant year at the CPUC, with several important proceedings including the Pacific Gas and Electric and Southern California general rate cases, the next phase of the resource adequacy proceeding and the new telecom rules, the "Consumers Bill of Rights."  

In recent years, during CPUC deliberations over the various version of the telecom "Bill of Rights," CMTA has consistently advocated for an approach that doesn’t stifle competition among wireless service providers or eliminate new entrants in the California wireless service marketplace.  Market regulation is appropriate when markets are not competitive or are out of balance.  Such regulation is a bad idea when an industry has healthy competition to benefit consumers—which is clearly the case in wireless communications.

There are a number of significant  proceedings at the CPUC in addition to the telecom consumer proceeding, including the Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison general rate cases, and the next phase of the energy resource adequacy proceeding.

CMTA looks forward to working with Ms. Chong to promote policies that benefit residential and business consumers, improve California's business climate, increase investment in the state's energy infrastructure and ensure continued investment and innovation in the telecommunications market.
Chong’s appointment requires Senate confirmation. 
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