With the fate of net neutrality currently in the hands of one last Senate vote this Wednesday, there are a multitude of questions that lawmakers and pundits on either side of the aisle are looking to answer. One of the major questions is whether consumers will soon have to pay varying prices to consume content on the internet in the near future. Another question might just be how much all of these people are making while they vote on monumental decisions for the American people. For example, what is Ajit Pai's net worth?
As the Chairman of the Federal Communications Council (FCC), Pai is in charge of the governmental organization that was intended by the Obama regulation to regulate the internet. The chairman's role obviously changes with each administration depending on which laws are put into place, but generally, his defined principles on the FCC website are all about championing innovation, lower prices, increased economic growth and more.
So what, exactly, is he earning in this role? The full list of salaries for government officials under the Trump administration isn't available, but eCelebrityFacts reports Pai's salary to have been somewhere around $450,000 at the date of his appointment in January of 2017, with a five year contract put in place around that same time.
Pai might be making a sizable income each year, but it's nothing compared to what some major internet companies might be making in the near future, depending on how Wednesday's vote turns out.
If the Internet Freedom Order (the act that replaced the net neutrality act, and is currently on the Senate floor for voting) does get upheld, things are about to change — and not just for the massive internet service providers, either.
Should the attempt for a repeal not work, then control over the relationship between internet service providers and consumers will shift from the FCC (where Pai currently resides) to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). For the average consumer, this means that there's less chance of any government body intervening if any internet service provider acts improperly.
For anyone who's still a little hazy about how this might affect their own internet surfing, you can think about it this way: the intent of the net neutrality rules (and the intended control by the FCC) was to ensure that you could read an article on one site for the same cost (namely, none at all besides your internet subscription fee) as watching a music video on YouTube.
Now, if the act is permanently replaced by the Internet Freedom Order, you might end up paying extra to surf some sites over others. Plus, you might be shifted towards using specific companies rather than others, depending on who your internet provider has the best business deal with.
In a statement given in early 2017 before the first Internet Freedom Order vote, Pai argued that the success of commercial Internet has been entirely due to the free-market mentality of the world wide web, adding, "We need to empower all Americans with digital opportunity, not deny them the benefits of greater access and competition."
If the attempt to repeal the Internet Freedom Order doesn't get approved on Wednesday, you can expect to see a whole lot more of Pai's efforts to deregulate across the board. If it is repealed, then that leaves the Senate back to square one, trying to find a middle ground between the net neutrality acts of the Obama era and the push for the intended free-market style of the Internet Freedom Order.