Great Plains Communications Residential Blog

Keeping Your Family Connected

Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 2)

Find the Support You Need 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 Wi-Fi 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.

Advantages of Having a Landline this Winter

As the holiday season begins, do you ever feel like you are constantly making lists? From grocery lists to guest lists and Christmas wish-lists. Great Plains Communications wants to remind you of one more list that you won’t want to forget and that is for winter safety. Temperatures may be moderate so far, but as any Midwesterner knows, winter is coming.

So, you have your batteries and extra blankets, but do you have a landline telephone? 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, which isn’t always available through a power outage brought on by extreme weather. Here are just a few advantages to having a landline telephone this winter:

  • 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

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 throughout any storm headed our way. For more information on how you can get phone service with Great Plains Communications, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

Don’t Forget to “Fall Back” this Sunday!

It is a common misconception that daylight saving time was created in the aid of farmers, to allow an extra hour of sunlight to work their fields. As we turn our clocks back this Sunday, November 4, 2018, Great Plains Communications has teamed up with our cable channel, History Channel to bring you the real reason we “fall back” and “spring forward”.

The real reason we adjust our clocks twice a year is based on energy conservation and an attempt to match daylight hours to times when the majority of people are awake, dating back to 1895. According to the History Channel, “the first real experiments with daylight saving time began during World War I,” on April 30, 1916. In an effort to conserve electricity needed for war effort, Germany and Austria enforced a one-hour clock shift. The United States later adopted daylight saving in 1918.

Call Before You Dig This Fall

Nightly temperatures are starting to steady into the 50s and the Pumpkin Spice Latte is officially back at Starbucks – fall is coming. Soon multicolored leaves will sprinkle the yards and it will be time for fall cleanup before the cold embrace of winter. Great Plains Communications would like to take a moment to remind you of the Digger’s Hotline and calling before you dig.

Keep in mind, this isn’t needed for planting mums or other Callautumn flowers along the front of the house. However, if you are planning to dig more than 6 inches into the ground, you should start off by calling 811. These projects could include installing a new fence or digging up a dying tree or shrub.

The Digger’s Hotline keeps track of the many electrical wires, Internet cable, sewer lines and other wires that run underneath your city. Pipes and wires can run below streets, businesses, parks and your home without your knowledge. While we here at Great Plains Communications traditionally bury our Internet, Cable and Phone wires at least 6 ft. underground, some wires may be buried as shallow as 6 in.

In addition to the 811-phone number, the Digger’s Hotline also has a website you can visit at http://www.ne1call.com/.

Remember that it is your duty to call before starting a project, and if you do damage to any pipes or wires, you may be liable. Protect yourself and your neighbors and call 811 first!

Tips on Spotting a Phishing Email

Countless phishing or spam emails are sent every day all over the world. They might congratulate you on winning a great sum of cash or threaten you by claiming to represent your bank or credit card company. While unfortunately there is no one trick to telling a scam from a legitimate message, Great Plains Communications has put together some steps to take when trying to tell the difference.

  1. Identify the Sender

Often phishing emails will come across as a company or person you know, appearing to be perfectly valid. But beware, URLs can be faked. By hovering the mouse over a URL in an email, you will see a hyperlinked address in most email clients. If the actual address appears to be different from the URL in the text, the link is probably not legitimate and most likely a scam.

Another tactic often used is taking a familiar domain and changing it slightly. We have included some examples below:

Don’t fall for the spoof. If you aren’t sure if the email is truly coming from Microsoft, for example, go to the website through your browser and find tech support through there rather than the email.

  1. Screen the Links

Just because you have screened the sender does NOT mean you should freely click links included in the email. Emails can contain links to malicious websites while appearing to be websites you frequent daily. Like we mentioned with the sender URL, hover over a link or button (ex. Track package), and it will show you where it will take you. Sometimes it will pop up in a box next to your cursor and sometimes it will pop up in the corner of your screen. If you don’t recognize a linked website, it is best not to visit it.

  1. Don’t Trust Attachments

While you can get some insight into the links included in an email, this isn’t the case with attachments and by blindly opening these files, you run the risk of malware disguised as documents.

Malware: an umbrella term for things such as viruses, ransomware and spyware.

Some familiar file extensions you may see are:

Other file extensions could be:

These extensions are called executables, which can make your computer perform specific actions or control your computer. If you receive an executable in an email from an unknown or lesser known source, it is best to assume it is unsafe.

  1. Rely on Common Sense

It can be confusing when you are caught off-guard while skimming through your emails. If the email reads poorly with extreme lack of spelling and grammar, put your guard up. If an email is asking for personal information such as your password or a bank account number (something your bank already has), keep your guard up. Trust your gut and if something doesn’t look right, something is probably off.

 

Regarding emails including Great Plains Communications, please know that we will never ask for customer passwords via email. If you ever receive an email which includes our name and you feel it may be a scam, please call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 and do NOT reply, open attachments, or click any links embedded in the message.

FCC’s Brendan Carr visits the Midwest – Broadband and Smart Ag

Great Plains Communications was honored to join Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Brendan Carr as he visited Fremont and the North Bend area yesterday as part of his Great Plains Tour. Visiting Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota, Carr has traveled from Washington DC to view and discuss the need for broadband throughout rural America. “The trip will focus on rural broadband deployment, including the opportunities it creates in small agriculture, telehealth, job creation and workforce development,” the FCC stated in a media advisory.

Roxie Kracl, Owner of LA Fire Proof Door Co. in Fremont, NE

Roxie Kracl, Owner of LA Fire Proof Door Co. in Fremont, NE

Closing out the Nebraska leg of his trip, Great Plains Communications joined Carr in visiting with Mayor Scott Getzshman of Fremont, NE while also making stops at the Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce and L.A. Fire Proof Door Co. to discuss broadband throughout the city and the effect it has had on the local economy.

After Fremont, we headed to Ruzicka Farms, a 115-year old family-owned North Bend, Nebraska business with Carr to look at how broadband deployment has allowed them to implement Smart Ag applications into their business. Elements of Smart Ag include on-field sensing technologies, data tracking, smart irrigation, tractor hardware and software, drone data capture, and various mobile applications which help decrease labor time and costs while increasing farm yield and profits.

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We would like to thank Ruzicka Farms and our Fremont customers and business partners who met with FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr to discuss the benefits of broadband: Scott Getzschman, Fremont Mayor; Tara Lea, Executive Director, Fremont Chamber of Commerce; and Roxie Kracl, Owner, LA Fire Proof Door Co.

Red Nose Day 2018

Great Plains Communications employees get in the fun of supporting Red Nose Day.

Great Plains Communications employees get in the fun of supporting Red Nose Day.

It’s Red Nose Day! Not sure what that is? You may have noticed red noses being sold at your local Walgreens store or maybe you saw a few celebrities sporting a big red nose in commercials. The nose is a simple yet powerful symbol representing the cause of the day, which is to fight childhood poverty. While the first Red Nose Day was back in 1988, it wasn’t brought to the United States until 2015. According to the Red Nose Day website, in that short amount of time the program has been active here in the U.S., they have raised $100 million and helped around 8.3 million children. This money goes toward programs that do three things, keep kids safe, healthy, and educated. Right here in America, 21% of children live in poverty. To find more information and to meet some of the faces of these children behind the statistics, visit the Red Nose Day website here.

NBC plays a large part in Red Nose Day through their star studded special hosted by Chris Hardwick tonight at 9 p.m. CT. Celebrities from music, comedy, film, and television will all unite to celebrate all the good that has been done and continue to raise even more money for children in need. Some of the familiar faces you can expect to see include: Jack Black, Kristen Bell, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Garner, Kelly Clarkson, Ed Sheeran, Tony Hale, and many more.

Earth Day 2018

Technology is continuing to become more prevalent in our day-to-day lives, everything from arming home security systems from an app on your phone, to your fridge texting you the grocery list. However, people are continuing to make strides in “Going Green”, or looking for ways to be eco-friendlier. Great Plains Communications has a few tips on how you can be more energy efficient in your home this Earth Day, April 22, 2018.

 

  1.  Be sure to turn off all lights, appliances and electronics when not in use.

This could mean unplugging your phone charger when not charging a device, turning off your porch light when not in use and unplugging your toaster when you’ve finished making breakfast. Each of these might be a small act, but eliminating multiple devices has the power of being very effective in the quest for energy conservation.

  1.  Switch your light bulbs to energy-efficient compact fluorescents and LED bulbs.

According to energy.gov, making the switch will result in around 25%-80% less energy than traditional incandescents and can last 3-25 times longer.

  1.  Wash clothes in cold water.

According to Consumer Reports, your clothes will come out just as clean using cold water as they would by using hot. Even your whites will end up cleaner than ever with cold water. Not only will you end up with a pile of freshly washed clothes, but you could end up saving an extreme amount of energy. In fact, 90% of energy you consume when running your washing machine is produced just from heating up the water for hot or warm loads.

 

These are just a few ways to make your home more energy efficient, saving you money on monthly bills and helping to reduce your carbon footprint. There are many ways to go green this Earth Day, and Great Plains Communications wants to know how you plan to do so. Let us know what eco-friendly activities you have planned in the comment section on our Facebook page.

2018 Call Before You Dig this Spring

Despite the colder weather we’ve been having, it is spring and that means outside projects will be starting. Before your shovel hits the dirt, Great Plains Communications would like to take a moment to remind our customers of the Digger’s Hotline and calling before you dig.

Keep in mind that the projects we are referring to are more than just planting some tomatoes or putting in some new flowers along the walkway. If you are planning to dig more than 6 inches into the ground, you should start off by calling 811. These projects could be the install of a new fence, putting in an underground pool or planting a new tree.

The Digger’s Hotline keeps track of the many electrical wires, Internet Cable, sewer lines and other wires that run underneath your city. Pipes and wires can run underneath streets, businesses, parks and your home without your knowledge. While we here at Great Plains Communications traditionally bury our Internet, Cable and Phone wires at least 6 ft. underground, some wires may be buried as shallow as 6 in.

In addition to the 811 phone number, the Digger’s Hotline also has a website you can visit at http://www.ne1call.com/. There you can find information on digging projects, upcoming events, new laws and even registration for a Damage Prevention Class.

Remember that it is your duty to call before starting a project, and if you do damage to any pipes or wires, you may be liable. Protect yourself and your neighbors and call 811 first!

Introducing SmartHub!

We are excited to announce that our new account management system, SmartHub is now live!

This smart, fast and convenient system allows you to:

  • View and pay your bill
  • Receive notifications
  • Report service issues
  • Contact us about services or promotions

To access SmartHub, either log-on to gpcom.smarthub.coop or download the free app from the iOS or Android app store. This allows you to manage your account at home and on the go!

Below we have included the tutorials for how to install the app on both an Android and iOS phone. You can find our full listing of video tutorials here on our website. If you have any additional questions, please call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 and one of our representatives would be happy to assist you.

SmartHub Tutorial – Android Install

 

SmartHub Tutorial – iOS Install

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