Tag Archive for: Rachelle Chong

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Rachelle Chong and Richard Wolpert Named GeoLinks Board Advisors

Camarillo, Calif., January 26, 2021 (Businesswire) GeoLinks, the fastest growing telecommunications company in California, today announced that Rachelle Chong, a former Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, and Richard Wolpert, a pioneer in the fields of software development, technology, consumer digital media and entertainment, have been named Board Advisors, effective immediately.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Rachelle and Richard join us as Advisors as we move GeoLinks forward,” said Skyler Ditchfield, Co-Founder and CEO of GeoLinks. “Rachelle’s extensive knowledge and skill in the broadband space and Richard’s track record of success and innovation will add depth and breadth to our Board. Their expertise, combined with that of our current Board members and Advisors, will be extremely valuable as we strategically grow the company.”

Ms. Chong said, “It’s a great honor to be invited to join GeoLinks as a Board Advisor. The company leadership has tremendous vision and dedication to service to rural residents and anchor institutions like schools and libraries.”

“I am excited to bring my experience, relationships, and strategic background to be working with Skyler Ditchfield and the entire GeoLinks executive team as an advisor as they build upon their rapid growth and continue to innovate the telecom space,” said Mr. Wolpert.

Ms. Chong is a nationally known regulatory expert in the communications, energy and transportation arena, having served as a Commissioner of both the Federal Communications Commission (1994-1999) and the California Public Utilities Commission (2006-2009). A career regulatory lawyer, she has served as general counsel to two start-ups, Broadband Office and Sidecar, as Special Counsel to the State CIO, in addition to serving as a law partner at the international law firms of Graham & James (San Francisco) and Coudert Brothers (San Francisco). Ms. Chong has also served on various corporate boards, including Authorize.net, Corsair, and pdvWireless (now Anterix), and has served on non-profit organization boards including Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area, The California Foundation for the Environment and the Economy, and the Legal Services Trust Fund. She currently serves on the T-Mobile External Diversity and Inclusion Council.

Mr. Wolpert has been a pioneer in the fields of software development, technology, consumer digital media and entertainment for more than 30 years. He is a successful four-time founder/CEO with three exits to Adobe, Warehouse Music and Real Networks. His fourth company, HelloTech, has become the go-to provider for tech support and smart home installation. He is a seasoned executive, having held roles as President of Disney Online (1995-1998) and Chief Strategy Officer for RealNetworks (2003-2007).

Mr. Wolpert is responsible for many “firsts” throughout his career including conceiving of and teaching the first Macintosh Programming Class at Stanford University (CS 193C), the first multi-user address book for the Macintosh (TouchBase), the first kids internet subscription service (Disney’s Daily Blast), the first Tivo-like product for Internet Radio (BitBopTuner), the first legitimate music subscription service for the Internet (MusicNet), and the first legitimate online movie subscription service (Starz! On Demand). He successfully negotiated ground breaking deals with several of the major media companies whose content became the basis for many of these products. Mr. Wolpert is the author of the book The Soul of A Deal.

Mr. Wolpert is a member of the Board of UCLA School of Theater Film and Television, a member of the Board of Governors of Cedars Sinai Hospital, a longtime Board Member and previous President of Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, Founder of CCFA’s Camp Oasis and a Trustee of The Grayson Wolpert Memorial Fund.

GeoLinks Board Members include Skyler Ditchfield, Co-Founder and CEO, GeoLinks; Ryan Adams, President and COO, GeoLinks; Ryan Hauf, CTO, GeoLinks; Tom Krause, Ph.D., innovator, entrepreneur and consultant and Chairman of the Board, GeoLinks; and David Stonehill, Founder, Managing Partner, Rock Mountain Capital.

Board Advisors include Louis Fox, President & CEO of the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) and Van E. Snowdon, esteemed wireless telecom and technology industry executive. Mr. Fox is President & CEO of CENIC, a non-profit corporation that provides broadband networks for education, libraries, university medical centers, centers for the arts, and research in California. Over 12,000 institutions connect to the CENIC network. Mr. Snowdon has 40 years of experience in developing and operating domestic and international emerging wireless telecom and technology businesses. He has participated in over $2 billion of global equity and debt transactions.

 

GeoLinks

GeoLinks is one of the nation’s leading telecommunications companies, nationally recognized for its innovative Internet and Hosted Voice solutions. Headquartered in Southern California and ranked on Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies in America three-years running, GeoLinks delivers Enterprise-Grade Internet, Digital Voice, SD-WAN, Cloud On-ramping, Layer 2 Transport, and both Public and Private Turnkey Network Construction expertly tailored for businesses and Anchor Institutions nationwide. More information on the company can be found at www.GeoLinks.com.

 

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Contact

Abbe Serphos

917-699-9661

[email protected]

Invisible Infrastructure Connecting Rural and Unserved Areas via Spectrum

Presented at CENIC’s 2019 Annual Conference.

SPEAKERS:

Melissa Slawson, General Counsel and VP of Government Affairs and Education, GeoLinks | Louis Fox, President and CEO, CENIC | Rachelle Chong, Attorney/Lobbyist, Law Office of Rachelle Chong | Luis Wong, CEO, K-12 High Speed Network

ABOUT:

Millions of Americans still lack access to high-speed broadband service, especially in rural areas. According to data collected by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), as of the end of 2016, more than 500,000 households were without access to internet service of at least 6 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload, the minimum threshold for high-speed service in California. This is due largely to the costs associated with building fiber networks to these unserved areas. Wireless services may provide cost-effective solutions and bring much-needed high-speed access to these communities and the anchor institutions that serve them. This panel will explore the role of spectrum-based wireless technologies (i.e. fixed wireless) in closing the digital divide; the benefits to various industry segments and success stories using this technology; and what spectrum policy changes are needed to promote this kind of connectivity at both the federal and state levels.

 

Internet for All in California: Overcoming Challenges and Creating Solutions

Internet for All in California: Overcoming Challenges and Creating Solutions

 · K-12LIBRARIESPRIVATE SECTOR
REGIONS: CALIFORNIA

Article written by CENIC

Across the globe, the digital divide is an issue of growing severity. California is no exception. Though it contains the networking world’s epicenter of innovation, large portions of California are left without adequate connectivity. “We have tremendous complexity in California around who does and doesn’t have access to broadband Internet,” said Louis Fox, president and CEO of CENIC. “Urban areas are generally well connected, but California is also a very rural state with sparsely populated areas distributed across a vast and complex geography.”

The 2017 California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) Annual Survey revealed that only 69% of California households have connectivity through computing devices, which are crucial in terms of finding and applying for jobs, as well as enrolling in classes and doing school work. Computer costs and technical know-how are barriers for many of these households. However lack of broadband infrastructure is also significant: 19% report that Internet service is not available where they live.

Californians without Internet access felt disadvantaged in many of the same areas; 38% felt hampered in their opportunity to gain career skills and take classes, while another 38% lamented their inability to get health and medical information.

To overcome this digital divide, leaders in the public and private sectors are banding together to bring reliable, affordable Internet access to underserved communities. At the CENIC annual conference in March, panelists identified the issues and obstacles that stand in the way of connectivity, and discussed the ways in which they are each working to close the digital divide and provide Internet for all in California.

“The challenge in California right now is not small,” said Sunne Wright McPeak, CEO of CETF, a nonprofit established with the express purpose of closing the digital divide. “Our geology makes trying to build anything incredibly complex. Then, add on top of that the diversity of our populations, the complexity of our politics, and the fact that we’re trying to do something that nobody in power is supporting.”

Lack of support may very well stem from lack of awareness. Kim Lewis, CENIC’s legislative advocate, is on a mission to educate the networking world about the plight of underserved communities, which often get left behind, leading to an even greater divide between the haves and have-nots. “The infrastructure in the ground is lacking, and in many areas it’s missing altogether,” said Lewis. “What are our community members going to do when they go home after working all day and their kids don’t have the access they need to do homework?”

In addition to political and geographical barriers, efforts to establish connectivity suffer from under-funding. “The problem is money,” said Rachelle Chong, principal of the Law Offices of Rachelle Chong in San Francisco and former FCC commissioner. “There is inadequate money being spent on broadband infrastructure in the rural and tribal, and sometimes, even suburban areas of California.”

California residents also face connectivity challenges from the private sector. Dane Jasper, CEO of Sonic, a facilities-based backhaul and Internet access company, and Skyler Ditchfield, CEO of GeoLinks, a fixed-wireless Internet and telecom provider, are two innovators attempting to disrupt the Internet connectivity market. “Most American households have two choices for broadband, and tend to only have one or zero when it comes to fast access in the range of 50 to 100 megabits per second,” said Jasper. Ditchfield noted that some provided connectivity packages don’t actually supply adequate connectivity. “A cellular connection — 4G or 5G — to the home is not going to solve the problem of connectivity,” he said. “It’s better than nothing, but it’s not going to give our kids the capability of accessing the online learning resources they need.”

Fortunately, connectivity champions like these panelists are carving out new pathways for underserved communities. Thanks to legislative advocacy from people like McPeak, Chong, and Ditchfield, new initiatives are being considered and put in motion. “The [California Public Utilities Commission] has just put out a rule-making to give out a $20 million grant for digital literacy in California,” said Chong. “Essentially, if you’re a school, a public library, or a community-based organization, like a local government or nonprofit organization, you can apply for a grant from the CPUC to do two things: gain either digital literacy programs or public access to computers.” (Learn more about two grant opportunities for community-based organizations and apply with CETF between July 17 and to July 27.)

Each member of the panel spoke passionately about getting the rest of California connected to the digital world. “To me, the Internet is the great equalizer,” said Ditchfield. “It allows you, no matter where you are, to learn at your own pace, to learn what you want to learn, and to go out there and research and make something of yourself, whether that’s creating jobs, educating yourself, or taking care of your own medical issues. It should almost be a basic human right.”

All expressed their eagerness to continue their efforts within the CENIC community, hoping to draw on CENIC’s resources and plethora of connections. “CENIC has been a great partner,” said McPeak. “In fostering a culture of collaboration and digital inclusion, CENIC has been a pioneer. You have provided a pathway and been a trailblazer in collaboration.”

It is CENIC’s ongoing goal to bring quality, high-speed broadband service to all research and education communities. We at CENIC look forward to forming new relationships and fostering existing ones to establish Internet access for all in California. (#Net4AllNow)

For Further Reading

CENIC 2018 Internet for All in California — Featuring GeoLinks’ CEO Skyler Ditchfield

“Internet for All in California” session at CENIC‘s 2018 Annual Conference.

Featured Speakers:
Skyler Ditchfield, Rachelle Chong, Dane Jasper, Kim Lewis, Sunne Wright McPeak

Moderator:
Louis Fox

Session Description:

Advanced information, communication, computation and collaboration technologies, built upon broadband networks, have become essential elements for life in the 21st century. A major challenge confronting California today is how to ensure that all communities and Californians have access to broadband technologies, particularly those communities that have not traditionally benefited from leading-edge infrastructure. In a “big data” world, unprecedented volumes of data impact many facets of life from health care and public policy to national security, scientific discovery, education, and economic competitiveness. If California is to continue its leadership in these arenas, all Californians need access to these broadband technologies — in their homes, businesses, schools, libraries, hospitals and clinics, and government offices. Moreover, equity of access alone is not sufficient. Affordability is essential for many, as is the ability for some to adopt these technologies in meaningful ways. California is fortunate to have broad and effective partnerships among public, private, and governmental sectors working to address the digital divide, and the panelists will address how their organizations are involved, individually and collectively, to ensure that “Internet for All” is not just a vision but a reality in California.