Great Plains Communications Residential Blog

Keeping Your Family Connected

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Sunspots this Fall

As you watch a thunderstorm, it’s hard to miss the immense power from a strike of lightening. Most people aren’t aware that the sun also has the ability to create a magnetic disturbance similar to lightening. When energy from the sun expands, solar flares are created, better known as sunspots. These disturbances have the potential to affect TV services twice a year during February/March and September/October. You might notice some channels periodically showing a fuzzy signal, sparkles, or even a total loss of the channel. Typically lasting 5 to 15 minutes, the sunspot activity should not cause any worry as it will pass.

So what exactly causes the disruption in your channels? As the satellites orbit, they eventually will align between the earth and sun. As a result of the mini-eclipse the satellite has formed, the sun’s rays overpower the transmission from the satellite. It is important to note that the effects brought on by sunspot activity is not a cable outage and there is really nothing Great Plains Communications, or any other cable provider, is able to do. The sun outages are often country-wide, and the only thing we can all do is wait for it to pass. Luckily, after 5 to 15 minutes, your program should air as normal.

If the problem has not subsided after 20 minutes, please call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 and they will be sure to have our technicians look into the issue. For more information on sunspots, visit NASA’s website at http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/SunspotCycle.shtml.

Back-to-School Giveaway Winners

Help us in congratulating our two Back-to-School Social Giveaway winners, Kelly Throener of Dodge, NE and Chelse Brazel of Wausa, NE! Each were randomly selected after commenting on our Homework has Evolved Facebook post, sharing the name of their favorite teacher from school and why that teacher made an impact on them. Kelly commented, “Kathy Mahannah…she is the reason I became a teacher. She was the best!” and Chelse said, “Mrs. Worthington was my 5th grade teacher…all those years ago… and she was my absolute favorite! She had (still has) a heart of gold, always made sure we were taught in a fun way and always made everyone feel like they were her own children.” They both have won a 16GB Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition tablets with blue kid-proof cover.

Kelly Throener of Dodge, NE with her family.

Chelse Brazel of Wausa, NE with her two daughters.

Chelse Brazel of Wausa, NE with her two daughters.

The giveaway is part of our Back-to-School promotion that is available through October 5, 2018.

Sign up for high-speed Internet service and receive:

  • FREE Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet with Alexa
  • FREE Month of Internet Service

Sign up for any new service and receive FREE Installation!

If you are currently a Great Plains Communications Internet customer but want to upgrade your speed to better fit your family, you will receive a $25 bill credit.

To learn about what speeds we offer in your area or would like to sign up for this great deal, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

Business Appreciation – QC Supply

Great Plains Communications is proud to highlight another one of our business customers, QC Supply based in Schuyler, NE.

QC Supply had humble beginnings, selling livestock products to local producers out of a garage in 1982. The company has since grown into an international distributor of products for farms, businesses and resellers worldwide.

Diverse Products, Many Markets

“We cater to the swine and poultry markets but also supply cattle, sheep and equine operations. QC Supply offers an extremely diverse selection of products,” said Quentin Nelson, Marketing Manager. Categories include Farm & Livestock, Home & Outdoors, Commercial & Industrial, and Clothing & Footwear. QC Supply also provides turnkey facility construction.

The company’s headquarters is in Schuyler, Neb., and includes a call center, retail store and the largest QC Supply warehouse. Also in Nebraska is an Omaha office. There are currently 35 QC Supply locations in 14 states and that number continues to grow.

A Switch to Great Plains Communications

In 2015, QC Supply became a customer of Great Plains Communications in Nebraska after having an unsatisfactory experience with a national communications provider.

Nelson said, “Previously there was no fiber available to our Nebraska locations. We experienced Internet problems on a regular basis including frequent outages. The prices were painful as well. As QC Supply grew, our Internet requirements grew.

“We found out Great Plains Communications was coming to our area, and we wanted their dedicated and reliable fiber for our Internet service. So we switched to Great Plains Communications. They bore underground and into our Schuyler and Omaha buildings to connect us to their fiber network.”

Much Faster and More Reliable Internet

The change to DIA (Dedicated Internet Access) from Great Plains Communications resulted in substantial improvement in both Internet speed and reliability for QC Supply.

“The Internet speeds at our Schuyler headquarters went from 10 Mbps with our previous provider to 200 Mbps with Great Plains Communications. This enabled us to expand and grow our company in other states. Our other locations connect to our headquarters, which keeps things centralized and provides for efficient communication with our remote locations. We can also now use cloud-based programs including a robust backup system,” said Nelson.

Regarding reliability, Nelson added, “In the three years we’ve been customers of Great Plains Communications, we’ve had only two Internet outages that each lasted a total of 15 minutes. Their technicians responded immediately to address the issues. I’d describe the Internet service as even better than we expected.”

Future Growth Propelled by Today’s Service

Nelson believes there’s tremendous value in working with a local provider like Great Plains Communications.

He explained, “Great Plains Communications gives us fantastic support. We can call their network department and talk directly to someone in charge who understands our business. We don’t have to wait around for answers. By contrast, with our previous provider, our Internet service once went down at noon, and it took us until the next morning to even get them to understand the problem.”

What’s ahead for QC Supply? Nelson answered, “QC Supply likes to lead the industry in technology in order to support our customers across the country and grow our business. We’re currently in a growth acquisition mode across our many divisions including e-commerce, brick-and-mortar stores and construction services. Great Plains Communications is assisting us with this growth by supplying the fast and reliable Internet service we need. We appreciate that.”

Back-to-School Promotion and Social Giveaway

Back2School

Education has evolved into a digital learning platform. Kids are being sent home with URLs to visit rather than books to read. And it isn’t just high school and college, but the younger grades as well. As education has evolved, homework has evolved and that is just the point Great Plains Communications wants to highlight with our Back-to-School promotion.

Sign up for high-speed Internet service and receive:

  • FREE Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet with Alexa
  • FREE Month of Internet Service
  • Sign up for any new service and receive FREE Installation!

 

And don’t miss our social media giveaway going on this week! While we understand that tech might be replacing books, teachers are still the ones guiding our children each day. To highlight those teachers, and for a chance to win an Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition tablet with a blue kid-proof case, follow the instructions below:

  • Like our Facebook page
  • Find and like the post including the graphic above on our Facebook page
  • Comment on the post: The name of your favorite teacher from school and why they made an impact on you

The giveaway ends Wednesday, September 26 and we will announce our two winners here on our blog Thursday, September 27.

If you have any questions over our Back-to-School promotion or would like to sign up now, please call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

Stop Searching for the Game

As we dive deeper into football season, you might be diving deeper into your couch more often, to catch the action from all your teams. With so many games to cover, and so many networks – it can get hard to navigate and find what you are looking for. Great Plains Communications has found a tool to help you out. The website 506sports.com is a resource to bring you a list of what teams are playing on what channels fast, so all you have to worry about is putting the number into your remote and grabbing a drink. The site lists the time, network and sometimes even the announcers for every FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) game each week. If the game is only available through streaming, it provides that information as well.

It isn’t just college football that 506sports.com covers, they also include NFL and MLB. Pro football is broadcast differently than most national college games. On Sundays, NFL airs regionally. To explain the different regions and what to expect for the coming week, 506sports.com publishes a map illustrating what games each network is airing in each market area. You can find the maps here.

Hopefully this information saves time and frustration when planning your weekend viewing schedule. As you can see from the college football schedule, the Huskers take on Troy this Saturday at 11 AM CT, airing on the Big Ten Network.

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!

Have You Signed Up for SmartHub and Auto-Pay?

Have you signed up for SmartHub? The new account management system was introduced to Great Plains Communications customers earlier this year. It is a smart, fast and convenient system that allows you to:

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

To access SmartHub, you can either log-on to https://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!

Once you are signed in to SmartHub, you can also sign up for Auto-Pay and do away with worrying about late or missed payments. To show our appreciation, we enter all customers participating in the Auto-Pay program into a monthly drawing for a $100 Visa gift card! If you have any questions on signing up for SmartHub or the Auto-Pay program, please call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

Fall 2018 Show Premieres

Fall show premieres are here and you won’t want to miss a moment! Great Plains Communications has listed some of our favorite premieres starting this month with new storylines and familiar faces bringing you horror, drama and comedy.

 

The Purge – USA

September 4, 2018 – 9:00 PM CT

As you may be familiar with The Purge and its three sequel movies, this follows the same criteria – one night a year where all crime is legal. The 10-episode event is sure to provide suspense and horror.

 

YOU – Lifetime

September 9, 2018 – 9:00 PM CT

There is a line between crush and obsession and you won’t want to miss Penn Badgley’s character try to decide which side he is on. So, is it a love story or something darker? You decide as you watch the story unfold.

 

Forever – Amazon Prime

September 14

Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen play a married couple living a comfortable life. But is it fulfilling? This along with other questions are raised after an unexpected event.

 

The Good Cop – Netflix

September 21

Away from the mic and onto the screen, Josh Groban stars alongside Tony Danza in this comedic cop drama from the producers of Monk.

 

Maniac – Netflix

September 21

Buckle up for a ride through the minds of Emma Stone and Jonah Hill’s characters as they are continuously drawn to one another throughout a mysterious pharmaceutical trial.

It’s Husker Football Time!

We are only days away from the season we have all been waiting for; football season. It’s a time full of pride filled colors, tailgating and friendly competition. Husker Nation will stand strong this Saturday, September 1 as the Huskers take on Akron Zips at 7:00 PM on FOX. It’s a new year and we are looking to Coach Frost. Great Plains Communications is excited to see what this year will bring for the Huskers and we hope everyone enjoys the game this weekend.

If you have any questions about your Great Plains Communications services as you are gearing up for the game, please call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 and a representative would be happy to assist you.

In recognition of the holiday, Great Plains Communications will be closed Monday, September 3. For emergency service outages, please call 1-888-343-8014, Option 1.

Grilling this Labor Day Weekend

It’s just about Labor Day weekend which means there is still time to get a few more grilling recipes in before the fall weather takes over. Great Plains Communications has found some of our favorite recipes to enjoy this long weekend from our cable channel, Food Network.

Grilled Chicken and Avocado Pesto

Liven up grilled chicken (or grilled chicken skewers) with this flavor-packed pesto. By adding the avocado, it adds a smooth and luxurious texture to the herb and nutty flavors of traditional pesto.

 

Grilled Sheet Pan Paella

Think past the usual grilled steak and chicken menu with this unique grilled paella. It is completely customizable, so if you don’t like mussels – add chunks of chicken breast or even go completely vegetarian. Just make sure all proteins are cooked to appropriate temperature before serving.

 

Ree’s Picnic Pasta Salad

Headed to a Labor Day party? Take this easy pasta salad that is sure to please not only the adults at the event, but the kids as well. Who doesn’t love chunks of cheese and bacon mixed throughout their pasta?

 

Giada’s Italian Panzanella Salad

Take the grilling indoors with this recipe by Giada De Laurentiis. The grilled bread and artichokes add great texture to the freshness of the tomatoes and basil. You get the familiar grill flavor but in a light and refreshing dish.

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