Great Plains Communications Residential Blog

Keeping Your Family Connected

Category: Phone (page 1 of 7)

Tribal Lifeline Awareness

Once again, Great Plains Communications is helping raise awareness about one of the Universal Service Funds’ varied programs to help provide affordable telecommunications services to Americans. This time it is the Tribal Lifeline Program, which provides discounted telephone services for those living on Tribal lands.

Those who live on Tribal lands are eligible to receive many additional benefits through the FCC’s Lifeline Program. According to the FCC website, eligible telephone subscribers on Tribal lands may receive basic local phone service for as little as $1 a month. Link-Up provides eligible consumers with a one-time initial hook-up discount of up to %50.

Eligible subscribers include those who have participated in:

  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamps)
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
  • Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • Head Start (those meeting income-qualifying standard)
  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Security Income
  • Federal Housing Assistance

We know how important having a landline can be for the safety and convenience of your family, particularly in rural Nebraska. Further eligibility information about the Tribal Lifeline Program can be found at http://transition.fcc.gov/indians/financialassistance.html. If you have any questions, we encourage you to call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 for more information.

National Do Not Call Registry

Still receiving those annoying dinner-time phone calls? Kids being woken up each night by the phone ringing? That’s because legally, telemarketers are allowed to call until 9 p.m. each day. Now, you can register your number with the National Do Not Call Registry and get rid of that unwanted stress.

The National Do Not Call Registry provides the opportunity to block telemarketing calls at home. Registering your phone number will stop most telemarketing calls, but will not stop calls from certain non-profit and political organizations. Organizations with which you have established a business relationship will also be allowed.

You can register your residential and wireless phone numbers. To do so, either register over the telephone or by Internet at no cost to you. When registering on the Internet, you may register up to three numbers at one time. If registering via telephone, you can only register one number at a time and must call from the number you are looking to register. Your phone number will appear on the Do Not Call list the following day. However, telemarketers have up to 31 days to remove the number from their calling lists. A telephone number will only be removed from the registry when it is disconnected, reassigned, or if you choose to remove it.

To register or to remove a number from the Do Not Call Registry, call 1.888.382.1222, for TTY call 1.866.290.4236 or register on the Internet at www.donotcall.gov.

Throwback Thursday – January 25, 1915 First Transcontinental Telephone Call

Left to Right: U.N. Bethell, Senior Vice-President American Telephone & Telegraph Co., presiding; Hon. George McAneny, President Board of Alderman, New York City; John J. Carty, Chief Engineer, American Telephone & Telegraph Co.; Alexander Graham Bell, John Purroy Mitchel, Mayor of New York; C.E. Yost, President of Nebraska Telephone Co., Omaha; Hon. William A. Prendergast, Comptroller of the City of New York

“Mr. Watson, come here. I want you,” Alexander Graham Bell repeated his famous statement from New York City into the telephone in front of him. “It will take me five days to get there now,” replied his assistant Dr. Watson, from his location in San Francisco. January 25, 1915 marked the date of the first transcontinental telephone call, initiating long distance transcontinental service.
As we can now pick up our mobile phones and call someone standing on the other side of the world, Great Plains Communications wanted to do a throwback to when a 3,400-mile call across the United States was an astonishing goal to accomplish. Please also notice in the caption, that C.E. Yost, President of the Nebraska Telephone Company was also present on this day in history.

How to Make Calls Over the Internet

We have all been there, when we accidentally drop our cell phone in a sink of water or on a hard surface that the case just can’t win against. Due to different circumstances, it can take days or weeks to come by a backup phone and being without access to a phone can be very inconvenient. Great Plains Communications wants to share a few of our favorite ways to make phone calls using the Internet!

In the instance of not having a working phone, using the following programs would allow you to either call computer to phone or computer to another computer.

Google Voice

Unlike other programs that require you to have an app, Google Voice allows users to make calls to actual phone numbers from their computer and it is free for calls within the United States and to Canada. Google Voice will give you a free phone number and also has SMS, conference call and voice mail services. Note that calls through Google Voice are limited to three hours, however you are not restricted from calling the number back after the time limit.

Poptox

Poptox is another way to make free phone calls from your computer to mobile and landline phones. While calling mobile numbers in the United States are free, you can also call internationally for a small charge per call. All you do is simply go onto their website, dial the number you wish to call, and hit the call button.

IMPORTANT: These Internet calling programs can help you make calls; though they are not able to make 911 or similar emergency calls. If you need to call 911, you will need to use a land-line, mobile phone, or a VoIP telephone service that’s approved for 911 use.

While these programs are convenient when in a bind, the only way of getting a truly 100% reliable phone connection is through a corded phone plugged into a wall-mounted phone jack. If you would like the stability of always having a landline phone connection and would like to learn more about Great Plains Communications phone services, check out our website or call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 today.

Don’t Forget This When Preparing for Winter

Winter storm Jupiter spread a dangerous amount of ice across the Midwest the past few days and left many without power. Living in this area means beautiful seasons, but with them comes severe weather. While most people have a list of winter essentials, a landline telephone is often overlooked. You’re probably thinking, “Well I have a cell phone, why would I need a landline?” We don’t blame you. Cell phones are great on the go and bring some of the best technology right to your fingertips. What happens if your power is out for multiple days and your family has drained all the backup battery packs for your cell phones?

Great Plains Communications wants to shed some light on just a few of the advantages to having a landline telephone this winter.

  • Security in an emergency, with consistent reliable 911 connections designed to continue working during a power outage
  • No need for batteries or charging when using a corded phone
  • Elimination of potential faulty connection and dropped calls
  • Top-quality sound and clarity

Remember, if the power isn’t working in your home, your cordless phones have a limited lifespan. Keep your family safe this season and make sure you have a corded phone plugged into a wall-mounted phone jack. That way you can be sure to have a clear and reliable connection no matter what Old Man Winter throws our way. For more information on how you can get landline telephone service through Great Plains Communications, visit our website or call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 and one of our representatives would love to get you set up today.

Do Not Call Registry

Still receiving those annoying dinner-time phone calls? Kids being woken up each night by the phone ringing? That’s because legally, telemarketers are allowed to call until 9 p.m. each day. Now, you can register your number with the National Do Not Call Registry and get rid of that unwanted stress.

The National Do Not Call Registry provides the opportunity to block telemarketing calls at home. Registering your phone number will stop most telemarketing calls, but will not stop calls from certain non-profit and political organizations. Organizations with which you have established a business relationship will also be allowed.

You can register your residential and wireless phone numbers. To do so, either register over the telephone or by Internet at no cost to you. When registering on the Internet, you may register up to three numbers at one time. If registering via telephone, you can only register one number at a time and must call from the number you are looking to register. Your phone number will appear on the Do Not Call list the following day. However, telemarketers have up to 31 days to remove the number from their calling lists. A telephone number will only be removed from the registry when it is disconnected, reassigned, or if you choose to remove it.

To register or to remove a number from the Do Not Call Registry, call 1.888.382.1222, for TTY call 1.866.290.4236 or register on the Internet at www.donotcall.gov.

Is a Landline Telephone on your Summer Storm Safety Checklist?

The summer seems to just be heating up, and with that heat comes the risk of tornadoes here in the Midwest. Do you have a plan for when bad weather hits? Flashlight, check. Bottled water, check. Emergency blanket, check. Landline telephone, maybe not? You may be wondering why you would need a landline, when all the members of your family have cell phones. Cell phones are great on the go and bring some of the best technology right to your fingertips. But with cell phones come batteries that need power to recharge. So if the power goes out, those cell phones might not work through the storm. Below Great Plains Communications has listed just a few advantages to having a landline telephone.

  • Security in an emergency, with consistent reliable 911 connection
  • No need for batteries or charging when using a corded phone
  • Elimination of potentially faulty connection and dropped calls
  • Top-quality sound and clarity

Be careful of cordless phones, as they can lose power in a storm as well. Our recommendation would be to keep your family safe this season with a corded phone plugged into a wall-mounted phone jack. That way, you can be sure to have a clear and reliable connection no matter what the crazy Midwest weather throws our way.

For more information on how you can get a landline telephone through Great Plains Communications, visit our website or call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 and one of our representative would be happy to assist you.

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 Exchangehttp://www.courant.com/courant-250/moments-in-history/hc-20150103-010-photo.html

²Connecticut History First Commercial Telephone Exchange – Today in History: January 28: http://connecticuthistory.org/the-first-commercial-telephone-exchange-today-in-history/ 

Do you have a Landline this Winter?

There is a lot of beauty in a Midwest winter. A white Christmas is a special thing, and there is a certain feeling of satisfaction as you crawl into your handmade snow fort. Though anyone who has lived in the area knows that with the beauty comes some difficulties. Snow drifts can reach taller than your car and ice covers power lines and roads.

Most people have a list of winter essentials, but a landline telephone often isn’t one of them. You’re probably thinking, “Well I have a cell phone, why would I need a landline?” We don’t blame you. Cell phones are great on the go and bring some of the best technology right to your fingertips. What most people don’t know is that cellular towers are not required to provide backup power. So, when we get hit with a Midwestern blizzard your cell phone may not work through a power outage. Great Plains Communications wants to shed some light on just a few of the advantages to having a landline telephone this winter.

  • Security in an emergency, with consistent reliable 911 connections and the guarantee it will work through a power outage
  • No need for batteries or charging when using a corded phone
  • Elimination of potentially faulty connection and dropped calls
  • Top-quality sound and clarity

Remember, if the power isn’t working in your home, most likely neither are your cordless phones. Keep your family safe this season and make sure you have a corded phone plugged into a wall-mounted phone jack. That way you can be sure to have a clear and reliable connection no matter what Old Man Winter throws our way. For more information on how you can get a landline telephone, visit our website or call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 and one of our representatives would love to get you set up today.

What’s on YOUR wish list?

Everyone has been asking, “What’s on your wish list this year?” You sit and ponder the thought. But what you need is not clear. You watch as the kids post and stream all day, and think maybe faster Internet speeds would go a long way. All devices could connect without lag or a buffer, which both always made watching movies much tougher.

Or is it cable you need? With the holiday classics starting up, you don’t want to miss your favorite program lineup. Stop wondering which to choose, as Great Plains Communications can assist. We’ll help check off your family’s must-haves from your wish list.

The holiday cheer doesn’t stop there!

As a gift to you when signing up for any new service, you will receive FREE installation and your choice of either ½ price HD-DVR for 3 months or FREE wireless router rental for 3 months. Check off even more deals by bundling services!

If this sounds like a deal you just can’t miss, let Great Plains Communications help fill-up your wish list. Call 1-855-853-1483 or go to www.gpcom.com/wishlist for more information.

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