Great Plains Communications Residential Blog

Keeping Your Family Connected

Category: High-Speed Internet (page 2 of 18)

Stream & Chill Giveaway Winner!

Giveaway winners Paige and Rick Schweitzer of Arnold, NE with their son Uriah

Great Plains Communications would like to congratulate our winner of the Stream & Chill Giveaway, Paige Schweitzer of Arnold, NE!

She has won a Roku® 3 streaming device, Cuisinart Popcorn Maker (kernels included), and 2 family meals (4-person) delivered to her home by Blue Apron. Not having any kind of streaming device, Paige is excited to share the Roku® 3 with her husband Rick, son Uriah, and their growing family as they are expecting their second child on December 1st of this year.

“We have never used Blue Apron and are looking forward to the convenience of having meals delivered to our door,” Paige stated. “It will be so nice to be able to not have to think about what I’m going to make for supper. Sometimes that’s the hard part.”

The social giveaway was in accompaniment to the current Back-to-School promotion, Full Stream Ahead, going on until October 15, 2016. If you sign up for either 15, 30 or 50 mbps Internet speeds, you will receive a FREE Roku® streaming device, FREE Installation and a FREE month of Internet Service!

If you currently have Internet service with Great Plains Communications, you can still take advantage of this amazing offer. Upgrade your internet to 15, 30, or 50 mbps and receive a FREE Roku® streaming device as well as the first month’s upgrade cost FREE. To find out more information on what these higher speeds can do for your family, as well as some FAQ’s about Roku®, go to our website at

Again, we want to congratulate our Stream & Chill Giveaway winner, Paige Schweitzer and her family! We hope they enjoy dinner and a movie in on us.

Stream & Chill Giveaway

Back-to-School time is busy for all families, with new activities and schedules to adapt to, earlier bedtimes, and attempting to weave in family time when possible. Great Plains Communications is excited to offer our Stream & Chill Giveaway as an opportunity to provide one lucky winner with the makings of a family movie night on us. Forget reservations and the high prices of a movie theater. On October 3, we will choose one winner who will receive the following:

1 Roku® 3

1 Cuisinart Popcorn Popper (with kernels included)

2 Family-sized meals (4 person) delivered to your home by Blue Apron



All you have to do is simply like the Great Plains Communications Facebook page and comment on the giveaway post, which two shows your family currently enjoys most. This could include regular cable, Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. We want to hear from you!


Streaming is a convenient way to access not only your favorite shows and movies, but also workout programs, games, even family pictures and videos all at the click of your Roku® remote. Check out our Back-to-School promotion, where we are offering FREE Installation, FREE Roku® streaming device, and a FREE month of Internet service to all new customers who sign up for our 15, 30, or 50 mbps Internet speeds.

If you currently have Internet service and would like to take advantage of this offer, you can! Upgrade your Internet to 15, 30, or 50 mbps and you can receive the Roku device as well as the first month’s upgrade cost both for FREE!

For more information on our Back-to-School promotion, you can visit or call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 to sign up today!

Roku® Education Continued

As the Great Plains Communications Back-to-School promotion is still available: FREE Roku® streaming device with each purchase or upgrade of 15, 30, or 50 mbps Internet Speeds, we want to continue our education on different features Roku® has to offer.

In our last Roku® education blog, we discussed the basics of how to set up an account and what types of programs you can experience on the streaming devices. Now we would like to show a couple specific features, such as how to search for shows, actors, directors, etc. as well as how to set up the Roku® mobile app, turning your phone or tablet into an additional remote.



There are numerous possibilities and features to the Roku® devices, so if you are interested in finding out more on our Back-to-School promotion call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

Broadband expansion benefits for Nebraska’s Agriculture Industry – A Roundtable Discussion

Sen Deb Fischer of Nebraska held a roundtable on rural broadband access at the Nebraska State Fair Monday, August 30. (Image courtesy of Sen Fischer)

On Tuesday, August 30th, the Nebraska State Fair set the scene for Senator Deb Fischer as she gathered telecommunications and agricultural leaders and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner, Mike O’Rielly to discuss the evident need for broadband expansion in rural Nebraska.

Senator Fischer began the discussion of broadband benefits on the Agriculture industry. Andy Jobman of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association explained the time and performance efficiency that would be gained through expanding broadband to rural areas, and the growing need illustrated through the daily increase in data usage at the Nebraska Corn Growers Association.

While all in attendance agreed that broadband could streamline and improve the Ag Industry, they are also aware that building broadband into under and unserved areas is quite costly and will require program funding assistance. “Nebraska is a sparse state, making population density a large factor in broadband distribution, Great Plains Communications Vice President of Strategic Policy, Ken Pfister stated. “It’s harder to extend coverage to rural areas because not as many customers live there, but we want to get it out to as many as possible.”

Senator Fischer said she thinks it will be beneficial for the whole state if different people and entities continue to work together on this issue.

“I think that’s a policy discussion and a decision has to be made on it,” Fischer said.


To read more about the roundtable event click below.


To read more about the benefits of rural broadband expansion click below.

Common Wireless Troublemakers and How to Get Around Them

According to Internet Live Stats, there were 286,942,362 unique Internet users in the United States so far for 2016. And that is only 8.4% of the World Internet Users. No longer do we ask the question, “Do you use the Internet?” But rather, “How many devices do you have?” The phone has gone from the wall to our pockets, connecting us to the World Wide Web as well as our tablets, desktop computers, and gaming devices.

With each of these devices come possible interruptions or Wireless Troublemakers that can deteriorate your wireless connection. Great Plains Communications wants to shed some light on common wireless troublemakers that could be affecting your home connection.


Common Wireless Troublemakers:

  • Microwaves – When in use, microwave ovens emit signals that are on the same frequency that wireless devices communicate on. These signals will lessen or even completely knock out your wireless signal strength due to competing for the same space. Moving your wireless router away from your microwave should reduce the effects.


  • Baby monitors – As with microwaves, baby monitors use the same frequency that many wireless devices do, and they can overlap your communication between your devices and the router. Moving these devices away from your wireless router or any wireless devices should reduce the interference.


  • Wireless telephones – Cordless landline telephones also operate within the same bandwidth that wireless devices do. Keeping the bases and the handsets for these phones away from your wireless devices should reduce their effect on your internet usage.


  • Walls, doors, and other large objects – Wireless signals from your wireless router are not powerful enough to make it through thick walls, heavy doors, concrete floors or ceilings. For best performance, you should try to put your wireless router in an area of your home that has the least surrounding walls or the least amount of structures between your device and the wireless router.


  • Distance from the AP to the end device – Wireless signal strength decreases the farther the wireless traffic needs to travel back to your wireless router. Instead of a corner or basement location, try placing your wireless router in a central location in your home to ensure no part of your house is too far away for the signal to travel.



Important Wi-Fi Terms to Get to Know

Access Point (AP): Equipment that connects wireless devices together, usually to the Internet. An example of an access point is your wireless router

SSID: Name of a wireless network, which is configured in the access point

2.4 GHz Frequency: Most commonly-used wireless frequency with excellent range; often “crowded” with wireless user traffic and “noisy” with interference from devices such as microwaves, baby monitors, and wireless phones; good for lower-bandwidth applications (e-mail, web browsing, etc.); has three non-overlapping channels (1, 6, and 11).

5 GHz Frequency: Most new APs and devices will now support this frequency. Good range and getting better; excellent bandwidth and getting better; has several non-overlapping channels (36, 40, 44, 48, 149, 153, 157, and 161).


The Importance of a Password-Protected Network

It is very important to keep wireless networks secure. Having an open wireless connection means anyone in the area can connect without a password or other credentials. Besides sharing service bandwidth, anything people do while connected through the service will look like it came from the owner of the open wireless network. All wireless connections, including those for guests, should have security configured.

Roku® Education

Great Plains Communications is excited about our Back-to-School promotion, as we are giving away a FREE Roku® streaming device with each purchase or upgrade of our 15, 30, or 50 mbps Internet speeds. With this gift, we want to share some of the awesome features the Roku® streaming devices have to offer.

Your Roku® player is simply a small device that connects to your home wireless network (or wired Ethernet, depending on your setup preference). It allows you to stream music, movies, and shows from the Internet to your TV. It is free to set up your Roku® account, though they will ask for a credit card number to have on file for a convenient purchasing option when needed. Do you have a Netflix account? How about a Hulu account? Have you signed up for HBO GO? With a Roku® streaming device, you can have all your accounts loaded in through their separate channels, and aligned side-by-side for a seamless streaming experience. Or, you can browse the Channel Store and install another of your favorite programs.

A fun new feature that both the Roku® 3 and Streaming Stick® offer is the Hotel & Dorm Connect for travel and/or college students. Watch the video below for more information.

There are numerous possibilities and features to the Roku® devices, so watch for additional education here on our blog. For immediate information, check out

2016 Back-to-School Promotion

Early mornings and late night study groups, research papers and online tests; the kids are headed back to school. Supply lists have been provided; 24 #2 pencils, 3-5 spiral notebooks, ear buds, 1 USB flash drive. Computer class is no longer an elective, but a necessary skill each child is using at a young age. As some students bring tablets home for homework and are asked to keep files organized on a flash drive rather than in a binder, the bandwidth usage rises. Great Plains Communications wants to help make sure your family has the Internet speed needed to get through this school year.

Get on the fast track with high-speed during the Great Plains Communications Back-to-School promotion. If you sign up for either 15, 30, or 50 mbps Internet speeds, you will receive a FREE Roku® streaming device, FREE Installation, and a FREE month of Internet service!

If you currently have Internet service with Great Plains Communications, you can still take advantage of this amazing offer! Upgrade your Internet to 15, 30 or 50 mbps and receive a FREE Roku® streaming device as well as the first month’s upgrade cost FREE.

To find out more information on what these higher speeds can do for your family, as well as some FAQ’s about Roku®, go to our website at or call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 to sign up today!

Stop and See Us at the Red Willow County Fair!

The Red Willow County Fair in McCook, NE has officially started. Running July 20-24, you can expect jam packed days of excitement, from the Heartland Pulling Tractor Pull tonight at 5:00 p.m., the Aaron Lewis concert tomorrow night presented by Community Hospital, and the Crowning of the Queens Saturday night starting at 7:45 p.m. As you enjoy all the fun the fair has to offer, don’t forget to stop by Great Plains Communications’ booth to find out about our upcoming Back to School promotion that includes a free Roku streaming device for new and current customers who sign up for high-speed Internet service!

This school year Great Plains Communications’ Back to School offer will have you studying with ease provided by some of our fastest speeds, and the following additional perks when you sign up for a 2 year contract:

  • FREE Roku 3 if you sign up or upgrade to either 30 or 50 meg Internet
  • FREE Roku stick if you sign up or upgrade to 15 meg Internet
  • FREE installation to new customers

Starting August 15 – October 15, this deal is one you won’t want to miss. Stop by our booth at the Red Willow County Fair for more information on the Back to School promotion or to find out what speeds are available in your town, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

Meet a Tech – Mike Howard

Meet Mike Howard, Lead Internet Technician for Great Plains Communications located in Blair, NE.

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

A:  I have been with Great Plains Communications for 3 years in the Internet Customer Service Department and was recently promoted to Lead Internet Tech.


Q: What is your favorite thing about working at Great Plains Communications?

A: I always feel I am learning something new each day.


Q:  What is one thing you have learned from working in customer support?

A:  I have learned that you have to have a lot of patience. Every customer is different and you have to put yourself in their shoes and see the issue from their side.


Q:  Outside of work, do you have any hobbies?

A:  I like to go fishing or boating in my free time. Usually I go down to my parents’ condo at the Lake of the Ozarks with my family and friends a few times a year. I also enjoy going to music events in Omaha or Lincoln and spending time at the race track. I will also be attending the Ice Cream Cruise car show and 1/8 mile race this August, which I attend annually.

2016 U.S. Olympics Swimming Trials in Omaha, NE

Learn how to properly do a backstroke from some of the best in the country.

Swimmers have already started to find their places on the blocks, all lining the CenturyLink Center pool in Omaha, NE. Each steps up, prepared to push themselves into a hopeful spot on the United States Olympic team. The 2016 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials started June 26, 2016 and will go until July 3, 2016. As stated in the official event guide, you can expect the following from this year’s trials:

  • 1,800+ of the fastest swimmers in the USA
  • 200,000+ tickets purchased
  • 300 credentialed media from around the world
  • 100,000+ fans in the Aqua Zone
  • 8 days live on NBC & NBCSN with 16 hours of TV coverage
  • 700 coaches
  • 1,000 volunteers

If you are in the area, know that the excitement doesn’t stop when you leave the main arena. In the Aqua Zone, located in Exhibit Hall C, there is fun for the entire family. From surf riding, log rolling, virtual reality and more, the 100,000-square foot room will keep you busy for hours.

In case you can’t make it this way to watch live, NBC and NBC Sports News will be streaming and covering all the action. Click here to stream and find the full NBC schedule. If you would like to learn about higher Internet speeds for an even better streaming experience, call the Great Plains Communications Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 to see what is available in your area.

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