Great Plains Communications Residential Blog

Keeping Your Family Connected

Tag: Internet (page 1 of 3)

How much speed do you need?


Rapidly advancing technology and an ever-growing number of devices in our homes has increased the need for greater Internet bandwidth. To determine the Internet speed that best aligns with the specific usage needs of you and your family, Great Plains Communications would like you to consider these questions.

How many devices are running on my Internet connection?

Before you answer, think of this scenario like a highway. The more traffic that is on the road, the more congested and slow the experience becomes. Internet traffic works the same way. The average household contains 5.7 wireless devices including smart phones, tablets, iPads, smart TVs, gaming consoles, and over the top streaming equipment. When multiple devices are running simultaneously, bandwidth is used up quickly and a traffic jam can occur, resulting in buffering and lag. Simply put, the more devices running, the more speed needed.

How do you use the Internet?

If you are a user who confines Internet usage to checking email and Facebook running only a laptop, you will be satisfied with a lower speed (5 Mbps or less). However, if there are several Internet activities happening in your household simultaneously such as on-line gaming, movie streaming, and online test-taking, you will need a much higher speed (30-50 Mbps). As these scenarios demonstrate; the level of activity occurring in the household determines the speed needed for maximum Internet performance. The following are recommended speed guidelines based on different usage scenarios.


Less than 5 Mbps:

  • Very few connected devices
  • Basic web surfing
  • Email

5-10 Mbps

  • Low number of connected devices
  • Web surfing
  • Email
  • Occasional streaming

15-30 Mbps

  • Moderate number of connected devices
  • Basic web surfing
  • Email
  • Moderate HD streaming
  • Moderate Online gaming
  • Average sized downloads/uploads

50 Mbps

  • Large number of connected devices
  • Basic web surfing
  • Email
  • High level of streaming
  • High level of online gaming traffic
  • Large sized downloads/uploads

If you have questions over your Great Plains Communications Internet service, please call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 and a representative would be happy to assist you.



Don’t Miss Out on Our Back to School Promotion!

It is crazy to think that midterms are just around the corner. What used to be a time of burying noses into books and handouts has turned into hours online, reading, researching and taking practice exams. High-speed Internet is no longer a luxury in education, but a necessity to succeed. Great Plains Communications understands how essential a fast connection is and would like to make sure you are getting the speeds you need with our Back to School promotion. With the best prices on our fastest speeds, you won’t need to worry about buffering or interruption. But hurry, because the offer ends October 15 and this is one deal you won’t want to miss.

To find out more information about what is being offered in your area, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-854-1423 and a representative would be happy to assist you.

Get the Most Out of your Internet

There are multiple issues that can cause disturbance with your Internet signal. With everything from ovens to home security being run online, Great Plains Communications understands the need for fast and reliable connection. Here are a few things that could affect your home Internet connection.


  1. Password Security

When having password protection for your router, make sure it is truly secure, and not things like 1234 or even a pet’s name that somebody could easily find on Facebook. If somebody else is on your network, it could be slowing down the connection. If another person has access to your network, they could also have access to some of your shared folders and personal information.

  1. Router Location

Your router may not be the prettiest thing to look at, but shoving it behind the TV or hiding it in a cabinet could be affecting your signal. The best place is out in the open, free from any walls or obstructions. Also make sure it is located near the center of the house for optimal whole-home coverage.

  1. Appliance Interference

Not only can hiding your router behind drawers and walls be interfering with your signal, but phones, microwaves and other appliances could be as well. If you do not wish to purchase a cordless phone or additional hardware, consider moving the router further away from other appliances.

  1. Bandwidth-Hogs

If you have someone in your home that regularly plays online video games, video chats or uses programs such as Netflix, they could be hogging bandwidth, resulting in a slower Internet connection. To help prioritize the traffic, you could set up QoS (Quality of Service) rules. This way, if somebody is playing online, but you need to video chat, you could set up the priority to eliminate interference on the call.


Quick Tip:

What if we told you that Exede offers unlimited satellite Internet with free uploads and free downloads for five hours a day? It’s true. It is called the Late Night Free Zone. Best part is, if you are an Exede customer with Great Plains Communications, you already have it! From midnight to 5 a.m., you have 100% unlimited data usage and both download and upload usage are unmetered.


What to do with the Late Night Free Zone? 

  • Schedule downloads of movies, music, games and more.
  • Upload all 73 photos from the summer family vacation. 
  • Post the video of the kids building sandcastles at the beach…and then destroying them.


Eliminate the annoying download waiting game and take a couple minutes to schedule the FREE download between midnight and 5 a.m. Then when the time comes, all you will have to worry about is planning the next vacation. If you have any questions over your Great Plains Communications Internet service, please call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 and a representative would be happy to assist you.

Back to School Throwback

The Internet has not only become an essential tool at home and work, but in schools as well. Great Plains Communications has some exciting Back-to-School promotions, but first we would like to throw it back to what college was like before Wi-Fi, online classes and having the web at our finger tips.


There was no such thing as online registration. You had a slip of paper with your desired classes and stood in line at the registrar’s office. While waiting in that line, you could think about the line you had to wait in later when getting your books.


Before tablets and laptops, taking notes meant throwing penmanship out the door and writing as fast as you could. You got a hand cramp? That was just part of it; no pain, no gain.



Do you have a question on an assignment? Professors didn’t send out weekly emails or assign online chats. You either tried to catch them in the classroom or signed up for office hours.


When a computer was needed for an assignment, there were no personal laptops to work in your dorm or wherever was comfortable. There was a sign-up list for the computer lab to write papers and use the printer.



Before eBooks and online searching, looking up a book in the library took time and patience with the Dewey Decimal System and many, many card catalogs.


It is fun to think back to how things used to be, but kids today are growing up in a very different world. Internet is not a luxury in college anymore, it is a necessity. From checking grades to having a class only offered online, Great Plains Communications understands the need for fast and reliable Internet service. Monday, August 10, Great Plains Communications starts Back-to-School promotions on high-speed Internet that you won’t want to miss. To find out what is being offered in your community, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 and a representative would be happy to assist you.

Take a Stand Against Cyberbullying

7th grade bullying project – Words Hurt, Holliston Middle School, Robert H. Adams Middle School

These girls are real seventh grade students who have seen and experienced the painful effects of cyber bullying. It is not something that can be categorized as only a problem in big cities or in specific schools or communities. Cyber bullying is everywhere and it is real. According to No Bullying Cyber Bullying 2014 Statistics, “25% of teenagers reported having experienced repeated bullying via their cell phone or online; 52% of young people reported being cyber bullied; 95% of teenagers who witnessed bullying on social media reported that others, like them, ignored the behavior.” These statistics are frightening and need to be changed, so Great Plains Communications asks you to stand up with us in the fight against cyber bullying. Stand up with us in the fight to keep our children and communities safe.

Below we have listed a few things has suggested to keep in mind to help in the fight against cyber bullying:

  • Be Aware of What Your Kids are Doing Online
    • Just like a physical place, ask your kids where they are going online and who they are going on there with.
    • Install parental control filtering software or monitoring programs, but do not rely solely on these tools.
    • Encourage your kids to tell you immediately if they, or someone they know is being cyberbullied.
  • Establish Rules about Technology Use
    • Talk with your children about which sites are permitted when they are online and which ones are not. Show them how to be safe online.
    • Help them understand what is smart to share online and what isn’t, and explain how words can be hurtful.
    • Explain to them that once something is posted, it is out of their hands who sees or shares it even if they try to take it down.
  • Understand School Rules
    • Most schools have developed policies on uses of technology that could affect the child’s online behavior in and out of the classroom. Ask the school about their policies.

Children today are growing up in a different world than their parents. Their pain could be stemming from much more than a scraped knee from falling off their bike. It is time we took a stand and started asking the right questions to bring those statistics down.

If you have questions about your Internet service with Great Plains Communications, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 and a representative will be happy to assist you.

Cyber Security and Summer Vacations

Summer vacations are something we all look forward to at every age. Soaking up some rays by the lake, experiencing a new place or just relaxing with the family. While the car ride used to be filled with yelling out states as you spotted them on passing license plates and the anticipation of winning I Spy, it has turned into a quiet murmur from headphones and clicking from the new game the kids downloaded. As you take technology along this summer, Great Plains Communications would like you to keep these cyber security tips in mind to ensure all your information stays safe and secure.

1.       Limit the Social Media Vacation Posts Until You Get Back

Turn off check-ins and location tracking. People are always sharing the hottest new restaurants they visited and what gyms they frequent. While that tells us where they are, it also tells scammers and criminals where they aren’t, at home. Limit vacation posts until you return from your trip. Broadcasting that you are states away from your home opens a window of opportunity for criminals to climb through.

2.       Lock Up Your Gadgets

Make sure to password protect everything, from tablets to cellphones. Another way to lock up your devices is by using the safe in the hotel room when leaving them unattended. Like your wallet, the information on your computer is private and important, so be sure to keep them locked up if you leave them in the room during an outing.

3.       Be Cautious When Using Public Wi-Fi

Check with a source before connecting. Wi-Fi network names are manually created, which means scammers could easily create theirs to mimic a nearby airport or hotel. Once connected to a scammer’s network, your data is in their hands.

4.       Stick to the Basics

Bring what you need and leave the rest at home. Just like you don’t bring every pair of shoes on your trip, you don’t need to bring every device you own. The time is to be spent with family. Facebook will still be there when you get back. Don’t forget to look up this summer and enjoy all the excitement and relaxation a vacation provides.

Benefits of telehealth solutions for Rural Healthcare


The adoption of telehealth solutions and the technology that drives them has had a highly positive impact on healthcare for the citizens and medical professionals of Rural America. Improved quality of care and quality of life, significant cost savings, and increased economic opportunities can all be achieved through the adoption of telehealth solutions powered by a reliable, high speed, fiber optic network.

Improving quality of care and decreasing costs

When seconds are critical, telehealth solutions allow medical professionals to share records, diagnose, devise treatment plans, educate, and even consult during critical surgical procedures in real-time all across the nation.  In addition to the strides made in healthcare quality, reliable high-speed Internet access that powers telehealth solutions has the potential to significantly decrease costs for patients and medical facilities nationwide through streamlined efficiencies and the elimination of unnecessary patient transfers.

Bringing reliability, scalability, and opportunity to Rural Nebraska

Great Plains Communications is proud to bring Rural Nebraska hospitals and medical facilities the dedicated Internet access and managed Ethernet services that allow the implementation of reliable, scalable, telehealth solutions powered by our statewide, 5,000 mile fiber optic network.

Hospitals served by Great Plains Communications

  • Gordon Memorial Hospital-Gordon, NE
  • Fremont Health-Fremont, NE
  • Brown County Hospital-Ainsworth, NE
  • Callaway District Hospital-Callaway, NE
  • Chadron Community Hospital-Chadron, NE
  • Chase County Hospital-Imperial, NE
  • Community Hospital-McCook, NE
  • Perkins County Hospital-Grant, NE
  • Jennie M. Melham Hospital-Broken Bow, NE
  • Columbus Community Hospital-Columbus, NE
  • Mary Lanning Memorial Hospital-Hastings, NE
  • Alegent Creighton Hospital-Plainview, NE
  • Webster County Community Hospital-Red Cloud, NE
  • Alegent Health Memorial Hospital-Schuyler, NE







5 Social Media 101 Tips for Businesses

Networking is no longer just updating your business card and dispersing as needed. It has become more than just rubbing elbows with fellow business owners at the annual banquet and making calls to potential clients. Today’s definition of networking includes an array of virtual options that are becoming common-place in the communication mix, and we are left with social networking. Providing an abundance of options, opportunities and potential, social networking or social media, can become very overwhelming. Great Plains Communications would like to share just five basic tips to keep in mind when starting up your business’ social presence.

  1. Pick the right platform for your business.  Don’t feel like you have to utilize every social media outlet. First figure out your demographic, and plan accordingly. If you are targeting an older market, Twitter might not be the best use of your time. Instead of quantity, focus on the quality of content you are publishing.
  2. Keep it updated and consistent.  One of the biggest unspoken rules of social media is to keep your information up-to-date. This means information from your past experience on LinkedIn, to office hours and company values on Facebook. You must also keep it consistent. By keeping the ‘About Me’ of your company consistent on all social networks, you build branding and association for the customer.
  3. Start the conversation.  Plan out your content and make sure you are present on your sites. This doesn’t mean you need to spend hours on Twitter or constantly checking Facebook. Rule of thumb, a minimum of three Facebook posts a week and five tweets a week.  It is different for every business, but never posting can look worse than not having a site at all.
  4. Share the love.  Just as you ask friends to like your page or follow your account, reach out and do the same for other businesses. When you retweet, you get retweeted. This comes from the ‘I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine’ mentality. If you see a post that you think your customers would benefit from, share it.
  5. Track results and adjust.  All social networks have some form of analytics or tracking feature to let you see just how well your posts are doing. Don’t take it personally if you don’t get retweeted, or if nobody likes your post. Social media is about trying new things and figuring out what works for your business and your customers. Take the results, adjust and try something else. Don’t give up.


Spring Cleaning your Computer

Has your documents folder become the junk drawer of your computer? You don’t notice until your once fleeting load time has become more of a bathroom break between tasks. Well, it’s that time of year. Open up the windows, let the fresh air in and clean out those pesky untouched programs, services and files. It’s time to spring clean your computer.

Great Plains Communications has some specific steps and programs to consider when starting the process.

–          Erase Unwanted Files

Get rid of those research papers from college, memes you found funny 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 the computer to find information.  For Windows users, CCleaner is a free app that could speed up the process. Click on the link to find out more information, but be sure to read through the entire process, as the program does much more than just deleting files.

–          Update Software

By not keeping your software up-to-date, you aren’t allowing your computer to be the best version of itself. Skipping multiple updates will cause your loading times to increase rapidly. 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 closer together so that it doesn’t have to search the entire drive to find specific data. The easiest way to do this is by using the free program Defraggler.

An additional option would be 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 “Live” tech support. Tech Home costs just $14.99 a month with all tech assistance free of charge. It provides the support you want and the protection you need around the clock, to ensure your computer won’t be bogged down and is functioning at its full potential.

There are multiple ways to increase performance speeds on your computer, but take the time this season and find which ways work best for you. If you would like more information or would like to sign up for Tech Home, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

Troubleshooting Home Network Issues

Having problems with your Internet connection can be frustrating and confusing. After your first 12 tries at the refresh button, you restart the device. All that does is gives you a few minutes to contemplate just how frustrated you are. It still doesn’t work. Great Plains Communications wants to give you a few tips on how to troubleshoot the problem to either solve the issue, or provide you with helpful information for tech support in assisting you further.

First off, what are you having an issue with?


When having problems with your email, ask yourself the following questions before panicking and continuously hitting resend.

–          Did you go over your quota in your mailbox?

–          Is it not sending to a certain email or to all email accounts?

–          If you send group emails, are you getting an error stating you sent too much mail? If so, are you registered for mass email agreement with Great Plains Communications?

Modem & Router

If you don’t have an Internet connection reaching any of your devices, it might be your modem that is causing the problem. Your modem is what allows data to travel over a phone line from your device to the Internet. The router then connects all other devices to the modem. So if the only problem seems to be the connection to your tablet or laptop, the issue is more likely in the router.

–          Is your ADSL or DSL light flashing? This means the modem is not connected.

–          Is there a red Internet light on? This means your DSL modem is not getting an IP to connect.

–          Is your Ethernet light on or off? This will determine if the connected device is online.

Specific Website

If you are having problems with a specific website that will not load or is continuously giving you an error, the first step you could take is entering the link into “Down For Everyone Or Just For Me.” This site will help you determine if the problem is with your device. If it comes back that the problem is with your device, there are numerous things it could be, from something in your computer stopping the stream of data reaching the Internet to really anything along the way.

These are just three of the many common problems users may experience with their home networks. If troubleshooting the problem on your own does not work, follow these last few steps in contacting our tech support and they will be happy to help you.

–          Make sure you have your account number ready.

–          Be sure to be in front of your computer, to enable you to walk through tech suggestions step by step.

–          Expect to be on the phone for a minimum of 20 minutes, as it can take some time for a tech to pinpoint the exact issue.

–          Have all your findings from doing your own troubleshooting ready.

–          Call 1-855-853-1483, Option 1

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