Valentine’s Day Around the World

When thinking of the coming holiday, we often picture flowers, chocolate and over-the-top cards overflowing with love. No matter if you are single or in a relationship, Valentine’s Day in the United States brings expectations through tradition. However, these traditions do not ring true in all countries. Great Plains Communications wants to share how the day of love is celebrated (or not celebrated) around the world.

As a female in Japan, gift giving is your responsibility on Valentine’s Day with no expected reciprocation. It isn’t until a month later, on March 14 (White Day), that the men may return the affection. Though, much like the U.S., Valentine’s Day is a big day for advertising, as displays start to appear shortly after Christmas decorations are taken down around the New Year. According to USA Today, “The Chocolate and Cocoa Association of Japan estimates $500 million is spent annually on chocolate for Valentine’s Day,” while they then “spend another $500 million on chocolate for White Day.”

For Estonia and Finland, February 14 is less about romance and more about relationships with all loved ones as they celebrate Friend’s Day. While stores are still filled with heart-shaped merchandise and couples can show their affection, gifts are also given among friend groups with Estonia even having a “love bus” that single friends could hop aboard.

In Brazil, February is a time focused on Lent and to fully celebrate Carnival, rather than romance. It isn’t until June 12 that Dia dos Namorados (Lovers’ Day) is celebrated in consolidation with the death of St. Anthony of Padua (June 13) who is considered to be the patron saint of marriage.

No matter how you plan to celebrate the holiday of love, if it is with a significant other, group of friends or your favorite movie, Great Plains Communications wants to wish everyone a very happy Valentine’s Day.

Safer Internet Day 2016

Are you a parent, scrambling to figure out ways to keep your children safe on the Internet? As children grow up with technology from before they can take a step or speak a sentence, there are many questions and troubles that can arise. Striving to address an emerging online issue each year, the Insafe organization has shed light on topics such as cyber-bullying and social networking. This year, Safer Internet Day 2016 has the theme “Play your part for a better internet!”

Safer Internet Day (SID) started as an initiative and has grown into a landmark event. Forming in Europe, the Insafe organization has grown above and beyond its original geographic zone and now celebrates in more than 100 countries worldwide, across all continents.

The idea is that no matter what language you speak or what country you call home, we all face issues brought forth by the Internet. As our children become emerged in the culture and effects of technology, cyber safety becomes increasingly important and we need to play our part in making the Internet a better place.

One resource of SID 2016 is a program called Family Online Safety Institute, where parents can go and filter helpful information by age of their child. It provides “advice, tips and tools empowering you to confidently navigate the online world with your kids.” Great Plains Communications wants to help provide information so families enjoy all the Internet has to offer, but in a safe manner. For more information on SID 2016, check out their website at

Super Bowl 50 Commercial Teasers

Some attend the parties for the food and good company, some for the rivalry and loyalty to their team, but for some it is all about the breaks between plays; the moments when hard work and top dollar have created the most anticipated commercials of the year. Great Plains Communications has put together just a few of the teaser commercials to keep watch for this Super Bowl Sunday. They will include the classics, such as Snickers and Taco Bell accompanied by new comers like Death Wish Coffee Company and the return of Mountain Dew who has had 16 years away from the big game.


Taco Bell




Mountain Dew


Death Wish Coffee Company


Super Bowl 50 Recipes

This year marks the 50th Super Bowl, as the Denver Broncos take on the Carolina Panthers. As many know, Super Bowl Sunday is about more than just the game, but the commercials and overflowing food as well. Great Plains Communications, along with our cable channel Food Network, have put together a few recipes to keep in mind as the weekend approaches no matter if you are looking for an entrée like chili, finger foods or something sweet for your guests.


Pat’s Famous Beef & Pork Chili

Guy’s Tailgate Appetizers

Ina’s Salted Caramel Brownies

Throwback Thursday – The First Commercial Telephone Exchange

138 years ago (January 28, 1878) in the Boardman Building of New Haven, Connecticut the first commercial telephone exchange took place. George Coy was the mastermind behind the District Telephone Company of New Haven that connected 21 customers, along with his two partners Herrick Frost and Walter Lewis. Coy created the contraption from, “teapot cover handles, wires from ladies’ bustles and carriage bolts”.¹

This brought big change, as prior telephones were only privately owned or by “businesses who leased telephones in pairs to connect”.² With the starting price of only $1.50 per month for the original 21 customers, the business was off and running. It wasn’t until the 1920s that direct dialing and telephone numbers came about.

Great Plains Communications hopes you enjoyed this look back in history!


¹Hartford Courant 1878 — The World’s First Commercial Telephone Exchange

²Connecticut History First Commercial Telephone Exchange – Today in History: January 28: 

What are Network and Programmer Fees?

Network and programmer fees have been a hot news topic lately with stories of ongoing station negotiations and the announcements of cable providers being forced to raise rates to cover them. Great Plains Communications would like to shed some light on the topic of network/programmer fees to help you understand the way these rising fees affect your cable television service.

Frequently asked questions:


What are Network/Programmer fees?

A significant portion of your Local TV bill is passed on to Cable Network and Broadcast station owners (Networks, or Programmers). Cable Television providers are under contract with programmers and charged a fee per channel, per month, per customer for the right to provide that station or Network to their customers.

  • These fees have increased dramatically at 3½ times the rate of inflation over the last 15 years.
  • These Fees apply to stations on the cable lineup and increase every year.

If I don’t even watch a lot of the channels on my television, why do I still have to be responsible for all of these fees on my bill when there are other subscribers who watch more channels than I do?

All Satellite and Cable providers (TV providers) pay each Network owner (Programmer) a fee for every household that receives a particular Network – regardless of whether anyone in the household actually watches it. This is the industry standard as it exists today.

Many customers would prefer to pay for only the most popular Networks and a select group of quality, special-interest ones that appeal to them. This is something that providers would like to offer, but most Networks will not allow it. Unfortunately, the programmers often have the upper hand in how their networks are packaged.


For more information on network and programmer fees, go to our website at, www.tvonmyside , or call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

Do You Know if Your Computer is Secure?

Data Privacy Day is more than an annual reminder to change your passwords. If somebody told you that you have malware on your computer, would you know what that means? By definition, ‘malware [mal-wair]: software intended to damage a computer, mobile device, computer system, or computer network, or to take partial control over its operation’. Though spyware (form of malware) can be applied in several technologies, there are two important things notes to be aware of…

  • They (spyware) can download themselves onto your computer without your permission. This can happen when you visit an unsecure website or through an attachment in an unprotected email.
  • Spyware can make your computer do things you don’t want it to do. That might be as simple as opening an advertisement you didn’t want to see. In the worst case, spyware can track your online movements, steal your passwords and compromise your accounts.

Below are some steps to ensure you are staying protected, provided by

  • Keep a Clean Machine: Make sure to have the latest security software, web browser and operating system to have the best defenses against viruses, malware and any other online threats.
  • When in doubt, throw it out: Cybercriminals often use links in emails, tweets, posts and online advertising as their main source in attempting to compromise your computer. Don’t hesitate to delete something if it looks suspicious, even if you recognize the source.
  • Protect all devices that connect to the Internet: Computers are no longer the only way we connect to the Internet, make sure smart phones, gaming systems and other web-enabled devices also have protection from viruses and malware.
  • Plug & scan: Don’t forget to scan “USB” drives with your security software to be sure they have not been infected by viruses and malware.

Great Plains Communications wants to make sure your computer and information are safe. Keep all of these tips in mind as Data Privacy Day approaches next week and for more information go to

Midseason Premieres You Don’t Want to Miss

Midseason premieres are underway and Great Plains Communications wants to make sure you don’t miss any of the excitement. Below we have listed the start-up dates for some of the most popular shows on television.


Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) – February 11, 2016

How to Get Away with Murder (ABC) – February 11, 2016

Blindspot (NBC) – February 29, 2016

Once Upon a Time (ABC) – March 6, 2016

Game of Thrones (HBO) – April 24, 2016


If you have a favorite show that we haven’t listed above, we would love to hear from you. Let us know in the comment section of our Facebook post what midseason premieres you are looking forward to!

Meet a Tech – Andrew Benben

Meet Andrew Benben, Broadband Technician for Great Plains Communications located in Gordon, NE.

Q: How long have you been with Great Plains Communications?

A: I will be coming up on 1 year of service with Great Plains Communications on February 1, 2016.


Q: What is your connection to the community of Gordon?

A: I was born and raised in Gordon and graduated from Gordon High School in 2003. After a year at Chadron State College, I had a few stints in Anaconda, MT, Rapid City, SD and Lincoln, NE before returning to Gordon in 2011.


Q: How are you involved in your community?

A: After moving home, I have been involved in the local Pheasants Forever chapter and volunteered to help on the high school football coaching staff. I also help out with my father’s construction business on the weekends.


Q: What is your favorite part about living in a rural town?

A: The best things about small town living is just the overall genuine kindness and helpfulness of all the folks. If anyone is in need of help, the whole community will stand up and do what they can for support. It’s very rare that you drive down Main Street and not get a wave or head nod from people passing by.


Q: What do you like to do for fun?

A: I enjoy going hunting, ice fishing, watching sports of all kinds, target shooting guns and bows with friends, hanging out with my three nieces (Kinley, Kiley and Keeley) and impatiently awaiting the arrival of the fourth one.

Don’t Miss the Scholarship Deadline!

Christmas vacation came to an end and seniors have started the countdown to graduation as it slowly comes into focus. Time is ticking down not only on their secondary education but on the opportunity to apply for the Great Plains Communications scholarships. Continuing education will bring new experiences, exciting information and higher expenses. No matter if it is a big university or a two year program at a tech school, the price of college continues to rise. Great Plains Communications wants to help with the burden of those glaring numbers by offering scholarships to young people of the Nebraska communities we are proud to serve.

Don’t miss out on the chance to see yourself or your student succeed. Find more information and a full listing of our scholarship opportunities at or call the Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483. The deadline will be here in less than a month, so be sure to get your application in.

If you have received a scholarship from Great Plains Communications we would love to hear from you! Let us know how it made a difference in the comment section on our Facebook page.