Great Plains Communications Residential Blog

Keeping Your Family Connected

Tag: Phone (page 1 of 2)

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.

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
  • National School Lunch Programs Free Lunch Program
  • Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • Head Start (those meeting income-qualifying standard)
  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Security Income
  • Federal Housing Assistance
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

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.

Don’t Forget About Calling Features!

Most phones today come equipped with some form of voice mail and call waiting services. But Great Plains Communications doesn’t stop there. They offer a list of calling features available through their land line service, ranging from personal ring tones, to speed calling. We have highlighted just a few of the many options available:

Personal Ringing

Give up to three members of your family their own unique ring tones. One for mom, one for dad and one for the kids!

Call Forwarding

Know you are going to be on a trip? Forward all calls from your home phone to your cell phone so friends and family can reach you wherever you go.

Warm Line

This telephone line offers instant connection and protection. A warm line is a phone line that is set to dial one number simply my lifting the handset. It’s great for young kids who need a direct line to their parents or for the elderly in need of fast access to emergency services.

Want to see all the options provided by Great Plains Communications? Visit our calling features webpage now, or call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 to get set-up today.

The Importance of Landline Telephones this Winter

Gloves: check. Scarf: check. Hat: check. Landline telephone: check? Most people don’t think about a landline when thinking about weather safety precautions. You’re probably thinking, “Well I have my 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 cellphone 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.

  • 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.

Three New Reasons to Keep Your Landline Phone

1. It’s the best way to secure your home:  Many emergency systems demand a dependable landline connection to make the system work.  It is certainly necessary for many emergency alert pendants who use a wireless connection to a landline device to ensure that an emergency isn’t missed due to spotty cell reception.  When you have a critical health situation, you don’t want to worry about bad reception!

2. It’s the only way to work from home:  Working from home at least a few days a month is becoming more and more popular.  However, poor call quality makes you sound unprofessional and few bosses will okay telecommuting if you are going to drop off of important calls.  Many of today’s cellular phones focus more on the apps on the phone than providing good voice quality.  That is never a problem with landlines.

3. Having a landline can actually save you money: Thanks to bundling, having a landline phone can actually help you save on your other services.  When you bundle with Great Plains Communications, you can save up to 40%.  You may be surprised just how cheap it is to have the reliability and safety of a landline in your home.

To find out more about our bundles, visit our interactive bundle finder, today.

The Value of Service – Our Techs Get It

Here at Great Plains Communications, we take customer service very seriously and feel that it shows in the quality of service that customers receive.  A while ago, we posted about the high level of service provided by our Customer Response Center reps and now we would like to talk a little bit about the techs.

Our technicians are great.  They’re helpful, leaders in their communities, friendly and often go above and beyond the call when taking care of our customers.

It may sound like corporate bragging, but the data bears it out.  Our customers have time and time again rated our technicians as amazing through surveys, comments, emails, and phone calls.  In fact nearly every person surveyed believes that our technicians are friendly and knowledgeable!    We want you to know how much we (and they) appreciate the feedback.

Unlike many cable companies out there, our technicians make it a priority to fix customer problems as fast as possible.  They show up to fix most problems within a few hours instead of a few days. They are also genuinely interested in solving every problem no matter how complicated the situation may be.  These guys care about the communities that they serve.

Why are we blogging about this?  Because those same forms of feedback tell us that our customers value quality service dearly and we want to make sure that you know that we get it.

Do you have a positive story about one of our technicians?  We would love to hear it in the comment section below!

The Benefits of 211

Summer Storms Easier to Handle with Landline

It’s a popular joke that if it’s snowing in the morning, sunny by the afternoon and raining again that night; then you’re in Nebraska.  While the day-to-day weather may be unpredictable, one thing Nebraskans can count on is severe weather including tornadoes, torrential rain, hail and more.

With severe weather season right around the corner, it’s time to take a look at how prepared you are when it comes to keeping lines of communication open and available should a tornado hit.

Severe weather, such as tornadoes and straight winds, is an annual fact of living in the Cornhusker State and can wreak havoc on electrical systems across the state. This severe weather can cause downed power lines potentially leaving residents without power for days, which can leave cell phones and computers out of power before the electricity comes back on.

A simple, corded landline phone doesn’t require electricity to operate, meaning it can keep you covered in the event of long-term power failure.  While you don’t have to have a landline to call emergency services, calling family members to ensure they’re OK or work to let them know of the situation, will require landline service.

During a power outage, a landline phone may also be the only way to receive information during a crisis since TVs, radios and other devices will be inoperable.  Those who rely on a cell phone as their sole phone device may end up stranded without a way to get in touch with friends, family and other contacts. Even a fully charged mobile phone or laptop will only have a few hours of power with regular use.

Furthermore, because cell phones operate using radio waves, they are much more susceptible to service loss during times of peak use.  If a large number of cell phones are trying to use the same radio signal to transmit a call, the calls become “jammed.”  Landlines don’t use radio frequencies and are much more likely to be able to handle the amount of call traffic an emergency generates.

When facing severe weather, you don’t want to have to worry about get in touch with people.  Find out more about landline service from Great Plains Communications at http://www.gpcom.com/residential/phone or by calling our Customer Response Center at 1-888-343-8014.

 

The benefit of keeping a landline

According to a recent report by the CDC, 17% percent of consumers no longer have a landline telephone choosing to only use cellular telephone service.  While a cellular phone may be acceptable most of the time, there are occasions when keeping a landline makes sense.

If your power goes out – If you lose power for more than a day, not an odd occurrence in many parts of the country with tornadoes, blizzards and other extreme weather patterns, your main sources of communication are likely to be unusable.  Cell phones and computer devices will run through their batteries rather quickly and once the batteries die, you may be left without a way to communicate to the outside world.

A simple landline accessed with a corded phone will remain reliable without electricity.  When emergency situations take place, it’s also possible for cell towers to become overwhelmed and  unable to place calls.  This is especially true in areas that are highly populated or have very few (maybe even only one) towers around.

If you don’t get cell reception in your kitchen or bathroom – If you choose to only use a cell phone, make sure that every area in your home has cell service.  Should you be injured in your home and unable to move to an area with better cell service, it could severely decrease your chances of receiving timely help.

On a related note, it was customary to have multiple phones spread around the home.  Given that most cell phone users only use one device, it’s important to make sure that your mobile device is nearby when in accident prone areas including the kitchen and bathrooms.

If you leave a dependent at home for any length of time – If you have kids or elderly persons who are left alone for any period of time, it’s a good idea to have a land line.  Children aren’t known for their sense of innate responsibility and with their heavy usage patterns they can easily drain a cell phone battery.  Having a landline means that even if their cell phone is no longer usable, they can reach you or other emergency contacts if needed.

If you have any questions about adding landline services, you can contact our Customer Response Center at 1-888-343-8014.

Nebraska’s new area code and you

On February 26th, Eastern Nebraska is getting a new area code that will affect approximately 1 million residents of the Cornhusker State.

The new area code is due to the significantly increased need for numbers that Eastern Nebraska has experienced, mostly from population growth.  The new 531 area code will overlap with the current 402 area code and will be assigned when 402 numbers in a local area are exhausted.   Those who live in the new 402/531 region will need to dial the entire 10-digit phone number when making local calls to ensure the calls are routed correctly.  If you attempt to dial using the seven-digit dialing procedure, you will not be able to complete the call.   The change officially goes into effect Feb. 26, 2011.

Check out the new 402/531 region (caption)

Great Plains Communications want to assure our customers that while callers must now dial a full 10-digit code, their local calls will still be free.    The new dialing procedure does not affect three-digit numbers including 411 and 911. A “1” must still be dialed before the area code when making long distance calls. For those who are concerned that a new 531 area code will be assigned to them soon, it’s unlikely the new code will show up in Great Plains Communications’ communities for quite some time.   Details about the switch can be found on our Overlay Information Page.

“Great Plains Technicians and Customer Service Representatives can help our customers through this transition by being aware of the February 26 deadline and trouble reports coming in with dialing problems.  We can keep reminding business customers to check their phone equipment to make necessary changes.  This is an industry change for all telecommunications customers in the 402 area—not just Great Plains Communications customers.  Customers have received several types of notices regarding these changes, and it is our hope the transition will occur smoothly,” says Kathy Tripp, Director of Special Services at Great Plains Communications.

Residents of Eastern Nebraska may be affected in several ways.   Phones or computers that have saved seven-digit numbers including dial-up internet connections, speed dial settings, voicemail and life safety systems will need to be re-programmed.  While the dialing change will take place in February, those who want to begin updating their programmed phone numbers can already do so as we are in a permissive dialing phase.

Businesses should ensure that stationery and online sites reflect the updated area codes.  Owners should also check phone-based equipment as some automatically dialed calls may require reprogramming to include the new dialing procedure. These numbers may include: fax machines, alarm and security systems, speed dialers, call forwarding settings, voicemail services, and similar functions.

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