When he was 4 years old, Pai left his native British Columbia for Parsons, Kan. Moving from what he called the "melting pot" of Vancouver to a Midwestern town of just 10,000 might sound like a jarring shift. But it wasn't until Pai, an Indian-American, attended college in Boston that he noticed other minority students clustering together in self-segregated groups. "I thought, 'Gosh, this is one of the celebrated centers of higher learning,' " said Pai, who earned his B.A. from Harvard University in 1994. "One would hope that students would make more of an effort to meet people from different backgrounds. I tried to do that as best I could." Now 40, Pai is still working to connect people, but through communications policy on a vast scale. As the sole remaining Republican on the FCC, he spends his days promoting business competition and trying to develop rules for a new era of broadband technology. Among the pending issues: the FCC's spectrum auction scheduled for 2014, which aims to encourage TV broadcasters to sell their rights to portions of the airwaves and transfer them to wireless carriers. The auction's overall framework is in place, but the precise rules have yet to be hammered out. Setting a limit on how much spectrum major carriers can acquire, for instance, is something Pai opposes. Before being confirmed as commissioner in May 2012, Pai was a partner at Jenner & Block. Before that, he spent four years in the general counsel's office at the FCC and as associate general counsel at Verizon. He earned his J.D. from the University of Chicago in 1997.
Federal Communications Commission
Ajit Pai, Commissioner
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