Each year since its inception in 1995, the Foundation for Rural Service Youth Tour hosts high school students from across the United States in our nation's capital. These teens gather together in this historic and powerful location to learn more about how #ruraliscool and what powers our rural communities - telecommunications!
The students have a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is both fun and educational. The tour provides a forum for students from rural communities to interact with not only their peers, but with key legislative, regulatory, and government figures. Thousands of students have participated in this program over the years.
As a proud member of NTCA - The Rural Broadband Association, YK Communications sponsors a student from the YK Broadband Internet and Voice service area for a four-day trip to Washington, D.C. We cover all basic expenses, including travel, for the student. The NTCA is a trade association that represents locally owned communications companies throughout rural America.
Though President Obama said in 2015 that "high speed broadband is not a luxury, it's a necessity," the FCC Chair Tom Wheeler later shared that 39% of the rural population didn't even have the option of calling a cable or phone company to provide their homes with broadband service. Living in a rural telecommunications service area, these teens have a unique perspective on what it means to be connected.
Telecom is changing the face of education, medicine, science, engineering, and other fast-paced industries, but rural broadband and voice services are an integral part of everyday rural communities as well. These students are able to learn and discuss how regulatory and legislative processes affect their growing communities and economies. It truly gives them insight into their government and the telecommunications industry.