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The FCC's Republican Member

Ajit Pai wants an agency as nimble as the industry it oversees

Ajit Pai, left, is the only Republican commissioner remaining on the FCC. (YouTube/Hudson Institute)

photo of Brian Fung
April 24, 2013

Ajit Pai is the sole remaining Republican on the Federal Communications Commission. Appointed by President Obama to fill a GOP-designated seat, he spends his days promoting business competition and trying to develop new rules for a new era of broadband technology and has encouraaged the commission to be more nimble in its response to changing technologies. In his first speech after being named to the panel in 2012, he spoke of the need for the agency to be more fleet footed and "act with the same alacrity as the industry we oversee."

Among his current concerns is  agency’s spectrum incentive 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. While the overall framework is in place, the auction’s 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 LLP. Prior to 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 and his B.A. from Harvard in 1994.

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