Great Plains Communications Residential Blog

Keeping Your Family Connected

Category: High-Speed Internet (page 1 of 20)

Summer Internet Safety Tips for Parents

Summer break is quickly approaching and that means an abundance of free time for the children in your life. While there will be plenty of time spent outside, it is good to keep in mind some Internet safety topics to discuss with children to ensure their online experience is a positive one.

  1. Internet usage guidelines

Rather than telling them all the things they can’t do, have a conversation with your child about how long they are allowed online and what type of sites are OK or not OK. While you make the ultimate decision, show that you are listening to their opinions. Also discuss how to behave towards others when chatting, gaming, emailing, or messaging.

  1. The importance of privacy

While this depends on the age of the child, a simple rule for younger children could be that they should not give out their name, phone number or photo without a parent’s approval. Older children should be advised to be selective about what personal information they include on social networking, such as not including their address or telephone number on sites such as Facebook.

  1. Meeting online “friends”

The Internet can be a positive place for children to interact with other young people and ultimately make new friends. By discussing it ahead of time, your child is more likely to recognize if they’re talking to someone they shouldn’t be. This is a good way to keep the dialogue about Internet interaction between you and your children open.

Remember that the positive aspects of the Internet outweigh the negatives and that it is a wonderful educational and recreational resource. Let your child show you what they like to do online and discover it with them.

Spring Social Giveaway

We are throwing it back with our retro video game themed spring promotion, looking to help you get the high score with our high-speed Internet and watch your bill drop with up to a $50 bill credit! Along with this great deal, we are also doing our best social media giveaway to date.

Spring Social Giveaway

Enter to win a gaming package, including:

  • 1 Nintendo Switch™
  • Mario Kart Deluxe 8
  • Joy-Con Wheel (set of 2)

With this prize, you will be able to take the entertainment wherever you go, with the capability of a console gaming system and portable device all in one. Entertain the whole family with the classic Mario Kart team and feel like you’re really on the track with the Joy-Con Wheel as it simply snaps around the controller.

HOW TO ENTER

All of this sounds fantastic, but how do you get your name in the running? It is simple:

  • Go to the Great Plains Communications Facebook Page
  • Like our page
  • Find the post with the header “S O C I A L G I V E A W A Y”
  • Like the post
  • Comment on the post what is your favorite video game of all time

The giveaway will run until May 16, 2018. We will announce the winner here on our blog on Thursday, May 17, 2018.

To find out more on how you could receive up to a $50 bill credit, go to our website or call 1-855-853-1483 and tell our representatives you would like to learn more about the current spring promotion.

Increase Your Speed – Watch Your Bill Drop

Score big this spring with high speed Internet from Great Plains Communications. This is one promotion you won’t want to miss as you can increase your speed and watch your bill drop in price! Find out the multiple ways you can save this season, below:

  1. Add or upgrade your Internet service and receive up to a $50 bill credit + FREE Installation
  2. Sign up for Cable TV or Phone service and receive FREE Installation
  3. Bundle your services to save up to 37% each month

As the need for speed continues to rise with multiplying devices in the home and bandwidth requirements from streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, make sure you are keeping up with your family’s speed needs. If you aren’t sure what that might be, take our What Speed do you Need quiz here on the Great Plains Communications website.

If you are interested in signing up or learning more about this amazing deal, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 and one of our representatives would be happy to assist you.

Online Tax Tools

Tax Day is just about here, as April 17, 2018 quickly approaches. While filing taxes is never a super enjoyable task, it is something we all must do. Great Plains Communications wants to make the process a little easier for you, with a few online tool options.

TurboTax

You can find the TurboTax Federal Free Edition software online to file your 1040 EZ and 1040A federal returns as well as your state returns. While the federal filing is free, state might cost extra. The software is very user friendly, as you can either upload your W-2 as a file or even snap a photo and TurboTax will auto-fill the right fields.

H&R Block Free File

Using H&R Block’s Free File program, you will be able to file both federal and state tax returns for free. If you have used another software in the past and are looking to switch to H&R Block, you are able to import tax returns from any competing software, upload tax documents and start filing.

TaxAct

Through a Q&A format, you can file your 1040EZ and 1040A federal returns, as well as your state returns for free through TaxAct. However, importing past year’s returns will cost an extra $5. They have both a desktop and online version of their software.

 

Choosing the right tax filing software depends on your specific needs. Luckily there are many options available and you can file from the comfort of your home with the convenience of online programs.

Spring Cleaning Your Electronics 2018

It’s hard to believe with the amount of recent snowfall that spring is just around the corner. Soon we will be planting flowers rather than shoveling the driveway; but aside from beautiful flowers it is also a time for cleaning things out. Great Plains Communications wants to remind you that while you are clearing out your closets and cabinets, your electronics could probably use some cleaning as well.

Has your documents folder become the junk drawer of your computer? Or worse yet, is it your desktop that is cluttered with untouched files circa 2015? You don’t notice until your once fleeting load time has become more of a bathroom break between tasks. We have some specific steps and programs to consider when starting the process of spring cleaning your computer or tablet.

 

Erase Unwanted Files

Get rid of those research papers from college, articles you were meaning to read a year ago, and any pictures you could keep on a USB flash drive. By deleting files, you clear up storage space, making it easier and faster for your computer to find information.

 

Update Software

By not keeping your software up-to-date, you aren’t allowing it to be the best version of itself. Skipping multiple updates will cause your loading times to increase rapidly and also make you more vulnerable to malware. Make sure to keep not only your software updated, but also your virus protection. For computers with built-in virus protection, sit back and relax while your software update does all the work for you.

 

Defrag Hard Drive

Defragmentation is simply speeding up read times on the hard drive, by moving sequential data physically close together so that it doesn’t have to search the entire drive to find specific data. One way to do this is with Great Plains Communications’ Tech Home. With Tech Home, you are provided with world-class security for all devices, home and on the go, while also having access to 24/7 tech support. If you would like to find more information on the Tech Home services, go to http://www.gpcom.com/residential/internet/tech-home-device-protection or call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

There are multiple ways to increase performance speeds on your computer, but take the time this season to find which ways work best for you.

Helpful Online Pet Resources

According to the 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey, 68% of U.S. households, or around 85 million families, own a pet. This staggering statistic is abundantly clear when spending time online. Pet videos are scattered throughout newsfeeds as the pet parents show off the lovable antics. We’re pampering our pets and looking for more ways to better their lives and that information doesn’t strictly come from your veterinarian anymore. Great Plains Communications has found a few online pet resources to assist in traveling with pets, pet care, and even an app to help stay on top of pet appointments.

Traveling with Pets

The thought of traveling with your pet can be nerve-racking, from figuring out the flight plan to finding a pet friendly hotel and any additional transportation needed. Below are two websites that will shorten your searches and help throughout the entire planning process.

Pet Travel – pettravel.com

“We have over 35,000 pet friendly hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts, vacation rentals as well as businesses that service the pet industry in our database. We are constantly adding pet friendly hotels, dog parks, pet sitters, and fun things to do with your pet. Pet owners who travel worldwide with their pet can find pet import rules for traveling to over 240 countries on Pet Travel.”

Trips With Pets – tripswithpets.com

“Our goal is to ensure that pets are welcome, happy, and safe in their travels! From booking pet friendly lodging & finding pet friendly things to do, to reviewing pet policies for airlines and care rentals – when it comes to traveling with your pet, we’ve got you covered!”

 

Pet Care

Amazon.com Pet Supplies – https://www.amazon.com/pet-shops-dogs-cats-hamsters-kittens/b/ref=nav_shopall_ps?ie=UTF8&node=2619533011

Choose from dogs, cats, fish & aquatic pets, birds, horses, and more. From there, you can find products ranging from food to bedding, gates and grooming supplies. You can even create a profile for your pet to receive additional coupons.

BarkBox – barkbox.com

You may already have a monthly make-up subscription or food delivery, but BarkBox takes the fun of a monthly surprise and delivers it to your dog. Starting at $20/month, each month you will receive a box full of themed goodies – multiple all-natural treats and creatively designed toys your pup is sure to enjoy.

 

PetDesk App

This is a free app accessible to both iOS and Android users helping you stay organized with your pet’s needs. From your vet, groomer, and boarder, you can connect through the app to request appointments, receive reminders and have all your pet’s information in one location. Find more information at petdesk.com.

How Much Bandwidth Does Your 4K TV Need?

Shopping for a TV has become much more than just picking a size that best fits your entertainment center. You now see terms such as 1080p, Ultra HD, and 4K when considering the resolution of your potential TV. But what do they mean?

First things first, the resolution we are talking about refers to the number of pixels that make up the picture on your television. A pixel is one of the very small dots on your screen that light up to create that picture you see. There are roughly eight million pixels in an Ultra HD or 4K (named for those almost 4,000 pixels of horizontal resolution). In the last few years, we have gone from the standard 1080 HD TV to anything over 50 inches overwhelmingly featuring “Ultra High Definition” resolution. But what they might not tell you when you purchase your new 4K TV is that it requires additional bandwidth support. If you are streaming things like Netflix and Hulu, the bandwidth requirement will continue to rise. According to Netflix’s website, the recommended speed to stream their content on an Ultra HD (4K) TV is 25 Megabits per second (Mbps). And Hulu isn’t far behind, recommending 13 Mbps for 4K.

 

So why does it take more bandwidth?

Each of those pixels is receiving data, telling them when and how to light up the screen. The more pixels, the more detail and the better resolution or picture you see, but at the same time – the more pixels, the more data needed from the Internet.

If you aren’t sure what Internet speed your family needs, check out the Great Plains Communications What Speed Do You Need tool. If you are interested in upgrading your speed or would like to learn about what services we offer in your area, please call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

2018 Tech Resolution Tips

It is 2018 and people are setting goals. While according to Statista.com, ‘Save Money’ and ‘Lose Weight’ are still the top two resolutions for 2018, people are also starting to consider that like a healthy eating balance there also needs to be a healthy tech balance. More people are setting goals such as, “Monitor Phone Use” or “Improve Cyber Security”. Great Plains Communications wants to help you succeed with some tips.

 

Monitor Phone Use

How often do you find yourself turning on the television to watch a show and end up missing over half of it because you were scrolling through your newsfeed or playing a game on your phone? If you are looking to cut back on the time you stare at that small screen, a first step could be to figure out how long you are currently on it. Apps such as Moment (iOS) or Quality Time™ (Android) help to not only track how long you are in specific apps but will also give you alerts when you have been on for a specific amount of time. You can customize the alerts to your goals and schedule.

 

Improve Cyber Security

There are many ways to improve your cyber security, but we have listed two main areas as a starting point: Password Management and Apps Management.

Manage your Passwords

Passwords are the lock and key to some of our most personal and sensitive information. Not only are we protecting financial information, but contacts and photos as well. If you are looking to better manage your passwords, work on changing them more frequently and always using unique passwords for different sites. We realize there are now passwords for everything and it becomes increasingly harder to remember all of them, especially if you change them often. Programs such as LastPass and KeePass work to remember your passwords, while also keeping them secure.

Manage your Apps

Do you have an app graveyard on your phone? Maybe you hit Candy Crush hard for a good two months then burnt out quick and haven’t played since. Or maybe you still have an app for that grocery store down the road from the apartment you lived in…three years ago. The kicker question is, have you still been keeping them updated or is that red bubble always above your App Store? You don’t use them, so why keep them updated? Well, all these things can actually leave you exposed to hackers gaining access to your information. But there is a simple solution; delete all those apps you aren’t using. Then taking it one step further and check your apps permissions for the ones you keep. For Apple users, go to Settings > Privacy and check what apps have access to things like your contacts, photos, and microphone.

Wifi Christmas Social Giveaway Winner

Help us in congratulating our Wifi Christmas Social Giveaway Winner, Sara Nichols of Eddyville, NE!  When asked why she shops online, she responded, “I shop online because I hate dealing with large crowds and I like finding the best deal while sitting in my chair rather than searching the stores.” A feeling we can all probably relate to. By sharing this information and liking the Great Plains Communications Facebook page, Sara has won a $250 Amazon.com gift card.

Sara Nichols with her husband and three children

Sara Nichols with her husband and three children

We may have only been able to choose one winner, but there is still another way to receive an Amazon.com gift card this season. By adding Great Plains Communications high-speed Internet service, you could receive a gift card and FREE installation. Bundle your services to earn the maximum gift card benefit! To find out more, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 before the offer ends January 5, 2018.

Again, we want to congratulate Sara Nichols, and thank everyone who entered our Wifi Christmas Social Giveaway!

 

Some restrictions apply, residential customers only. Services must be maintained for 6 months. Failure to do so will result in an early termination fee equal to the amount of the gift card received. Speeds and availability may vary by location.

Keep Your Devices Secure this Holiday with Tech Home

Our lives have become a constant stream of information through news feeds, search engines, emails, and reviews. All accessible through our multitude of devices. Great Plains Communications wants to make sure you understand just where those connections are going and ensure they are all protected with our Tech Home service.

The program provides world-class security for all your devices, home and on the go, with web security and antivirus systems. Gone away is the worry of lost files when your device crashes or gets damaged. With Tech Home, you will be able to sync and back-up all your files, photos, contacts and additional important information. No matter where you are, or which WiFi you connect to, Tech Home will have you covered with a cloud-based protection keeping your personal information secure and convenient.

Round-the-clock technicians will provide help to setup, test, fix and enjoy your network. Up to four computers, laptops, phones or tablets are covered through Tech Home, with the low price of just $2.99 for an additional mobile device and $4.99 for an additional laptop.

With Tech Home, you’ll have the support you are looking for and the protection you need. For more information on the new product, call 1-855-853-1483 or visit our website at http://www.gpcom.com/residential/internet/tech-home-device-protection.

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