1 GREAT SPRING 2014 Volume 1 Issue 4 GREAT Connections Connections Adams Land & Cattle Uses Fiber Connection to Beef Up Technology Small Businesses Have Big Impact 3 // Broken Bow Picks Up the Pace 4 Spotlight on Adams Land & Cattle 5 // Putting Our Business Continuity Plan to the Test 6 Time to Update Your Business Phone System? 7 Spring
2 GREAT Connections SPR 14 These are exciting times for Broken Bow. Since being named the 2012 Community of the Year by Nebraska Diplomats, the town is continuing to experience growth in the size and number of its businesses. There have been advances in technology as well as Great Plains Communications building out our fiber network in the area. We celebrate the progress of Broken Bow in this Spring 2014 issue of GREAT Connections. Page 4 features the story of what got the ball rolling for a fiber network in Broken Bow and how this Great Plains Communications project is having a huge impact on Internet speeds and more. GREAT Connections is a publication of: Great Plains Communications, Inc Great Plains Centre PO Box 500 Blair, NE No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form, electronic, photocopying, recording, mechanical or otherwise without the prior written permission of Great Plains Communications. All rights are reserved. Editorial and circulation contact: Amy Moan All brand names and product names used in this publication are trade names, service marks, trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. Extra copies of this issue are available to our business customers on a limited basis while supplies last. Contact Amy Moan at or to make a request. Copyright 2014 by Great Plains Communications and Cornerstone Publishing Group, Inc. Postmaster send changes to: Amy Moan Great Plains Communications 1600 Great Plains Centre PO Box 500 Blair, NE One business enjoying the many benefits of fiber is Adams Land & Cattle. It s our largest fiber customer in Broken Bow and has the most extensive list of communications requirements, due to multiple remote locations and large volumes of data. Check out the Business Spotlight on Adams Land & Cattle on page 5 to learn more about this very successful Nebraska-based business. Elsewhere in this issue, you ll find a salute to the importance of small businesses, a look at business continuity planning and an overview of the phone services and equipment offered by our Business Solutions group. Whether your business is in Broken Bow or one of our other service areas, count on Great Plains Communications to keep you connected. Sincerely, Todd Foje Chief Executive Officer 2 Spring 2014
3 GREAT Connections Small Businesses HaveBIG Impact They create most new jobs and help strengthen local communities Small businesses employ over half of the U.S. private workforce and outnumber corporations by more than 1,000 to one. This sector is also responsible for creating 60 to 80 percent of new U.S. jobs. The positive impact of small businesses doesn t stop there. They often sponsor youth sports teams, support area nonprofits and contribute to the growth and vitality of local economies. Small businesses pay a share of taxes that would otherwise be shifted to homeowners and many provide leadership in such areas as environmentalism and ethics. In addition, they offer a special personal touch that is hard for larger companies to replicate. owners, and many of those who fail use the experience to learn and go on to succeed in other ventures. Though much of the responsibility for the success of a business is on the owner and employees, consumers can do a lot to support the small businesses they believe in. In 2010, American Express launched an initiative to help individuals and companies do just that. Named Small Business Saturday, the initiative falls on the Saturday after Thanksgiving each year and encourages holiday shoppers to purchase from small and local businesses on this day. Participating in Small Business Saturday is one way to support small businesses; another is to remember to support them throughout the year. Unfortunately, within five years of starting, about 50 percent of businesses fail. There are many reasons for this failure including poor budgeting, bad relations with customers or suppliers and reluctance to seek assistance when needed. But some business failures are outside the control of business If you work at a company that purchases products or services from small businesses, let others know when they do a great job. This can be done through word of mouth, by posting positive reviews on the company s website or via Facebook, LinkedIn or Yelp. Make it a point to work with local and small businesses, even if it costs a little bit more. In doing so, you re helping your local economy and community to thrive. Spring
4 GREAT Connections Broken Bow Picks Up the Pace Thanks to fiber from Great Plains Communications, businesses get 10x the Internet speeds While Broken Bow s trademark gazebo in City Square Park is designed for leisurely relaxation, the town s business community is focused on faster work namely, the increased Internet speeds provided by recent fiber expansion. More Locations, More Services Ian Taylor, District Manager at Great Plains Communications, explains, Broken Bow was not getting the kind of Internet speeds it needed from the existing communications provider; DSL only provides about 1 Mbps uploads and in reality, it s more like 750 Kbps. That s insufficient bandwidth for businesses to work efficiently and be competitive. Years ago, the Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce contacted Great Plains Communications and asked, How can you help us? Our company was happy to take on the challenge of upgrading Internet speeds in Broken Bow. Great Plains Communications began the project in 2008/2009 with the initial fiber build through Broken Bow, then in 2009, started bringing fiber to interested businesses within reach of the fiber network. From 1 Mbps to 100 Mbps Says Taylor, This fiber has brought much faster speeds and uploads to our Broken Bow customers. Great Plains Communications can now offer them Internet speeds of 10 Mbps or more for both uploads and downloads. This increased speed is by far the biggest benefit for our customers. The second biggest benefit is that they gain the convenience of getting their voice, video and Internet services all on one bill. Great Plains is a one-stop shop for all communications needs. In addition, our three Broken Bow employees provide local support and we are a Nebraska-based and Nebraskaowned company. A growing list of Broken Bow area businesses are now connected to the Great Plains Communications fiber network and are utilizing this fiber in some form. These businesses include, but are not limited to, the following: Bow Agency Tax/Accounting Bow Booterie Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce Broken Bow Library Custer County Courthouse Gateway Motors Grange Insurance Jennie Melham Medical Center Mid-Plains Community College and Bellevue College Nebraska State Bank and Trust Plains Equipment Security State Bank Solomon Family Dentistry The Insurance Center Trotters Truck Stop & Whoa and Go West Tiffany 3 Theater Universal Insurance Ethernet over fiber advantages are further amplified by the Business Solutions group of Great Plains Communications, which can wire a business location using the latest industry-standard wiring for cable television, voice and enhanced services. We can network business locations together with one phone system and one Internet connection, notes Taylor. The impact of the fiber network through Broken Bow extends far beyond the town s borders. Says Taylor, This fiber carries a lot of other traffic for us. We now have the capacity to carry Internet traffic to Denver or Omaha from Broken Bow. It s like a major interstate through Broken Bow. 4 Spring 2014
5 BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT Adams Land&Cattle Fiber from Great Plains Communications beefed up technological opportunities for this innovative company Adams Land & Cattle is recognized as one of the premier cattle feeding operations and largest cattle research and development facilities in the world. Headquartered in Broken Bow, Neb., the company operates five finishing-lot locations and has cattle in more than 100 backgrounding locations throughout the United States and Canada. This is how Adams Land & Cattle sums up its mission on adamslandandcattle.com: We feed the world the safest, most tender, tasteful beef through innovation. Advancing From DSL to Ethernet Over Fiber A customer of Great Plains Communications, Adams Land & Cattle is connected to our fiber network at all three of its Broken Bow locations. We provide Internet service to the Corporate Office in Broken Bow and Ethernet to all three locations. they re on the road or in our offices in Mississippi or Omaha, allowing the same user experience as the employees in our Broken Bow locations. Great Service From Great Plains McAlexander adds, Great Plains went out of their way to provide Adams Land & Cattle with information and great service at all levels from the CEO, Todd Foje, to the local support technicians. Kleeb agrees, adding, I feel the most valuable asset Great Plains provides is their local workforce. The techs in the area have worked with us from implementation to maintenance to make sure our needs are being met. They are quick to respond to our calls and questions, and they provide us with knowledgeable service to keep connectivity available to us. Derrick Kleeb, IT Supervisor, notes, With our previous Internet provider, we experienced limitations to the data throughput as well as interruption of service between our remote feedlots and our corporate office on multiple occasions, which resulted in a loss of productivity. That DSL system just wasn t built to handle the amount of data our business generates. Since we switched to Great Plains, our fiber connection exceeds our systems implementation needs in almost all situations. It s also very scalable and gives us the option to upgrade seamlessly if needed. Because Adams Land & Cattle operates from multiple remote locations, having a system for effective employee communication is vitally important. Ryan McAlexander, Director of Sales & Marketing, explains, The fiber project implemented by Great Plains Communications gave us the ability to use video conferencing. This connects our employees through a virtual office, whether As a company committed to staying on the cutting edge of technology, Adams Land & Cattle appreciates the state-of-the-art tools provided by Great Plains Communications. Kleeb says, Great Plains plays a vital role in this area by meeting or exceeding all of our communications requirements. In particular, fiber from Great Plains has opened up opportunities with technology that were not previously available to us. It s helping us grow. Since we switched to Great Plains, our fiber connection exceeds our systems implementation needs in almost all situations. It s also very scalable and gives us the option to upgrade seamlessly if needed. DERRICK KLEEB, IT SUPERVISOR, ADAMS LAND & CATTLE Spring
6 Putting Our Business Continuity Plan to the Test A simulated train derailment in Blair did not derail Great Plains Communications employees Having a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is essential for any business and Great Plains Communications is no exception. We realize our communications services are vital to the communities we serve and are taking steps to ensure our employees could keep working in the event of an emergency incident. To that end, Great Plains Communications conducted a BCP test on October 24, This test was designed to simulate an incident a train derailment that closed the Blair office to all employee access for an entire workday. It was not announced to all employees until 6:30 PM on October 23. Prior to that time, the BCP coordinator was the only employee who knew of the planned test day. Employees had been previously informed, however, as to whether they would report on the day of the test to our alternate work site facility in Herman, Neb., or if they would be expected to work from home. In general, this BCP test was a solid success. The employees working at the Herman facility were able to take customer calls and perform other general work activities as required that day. Likewise, employees working from home were able to remotely access their virtual desktops and the corporate system. The next major test of the BCP will be to simulate the actual destruction of the Blair data center through the logical shut down of all server and network systems there. This will assess our ability to automatically switch the computing and network access to Herman and our Bloomfield Central Office. The Smart Place For Your Data. Secure, Affordable Colocation and Disaster Recovery NEBRASKA S PREMIERE DATA CENTERS: OMAHA LINCOLN 6 Spring 2014
7 GREAT Connections Time to Update Your Business Phone System? Make one call to our one-stop shop Business Solutions Group The Business Solutions group within Great Plains Communications (GPC) offers state-of-the-art communications solutions to businesses of every size. The goal of this group is to be the leading provider of communication solutions for businesses in rural Nebraska through communications platforms, certified technicians and outstanding customer support. Voice over IP (VoIP) and SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) Solutions Phone Systems from NEC, Panasonic and Adtran Products For Call Recording, Call Center Monitoring and Voic With Auto-Attendant Capability Maintenance of PBX and Key Systems Tony Martin, Manager of Business Solutions, notes, GPC Business Solutions has a strong footprint in the following markets: school systems, banks, hotel-motel / hospitality, agricultural and manufacturing. However, we work with businesses of all types and sizes, from the SOHO (small office-home office) to the enterprise level corporations. Martin gives this example, In the last two to three years, our Business Solutions group has worked with Adams Land & Cattle in Broken Bow to deploy a voice solution including an Adtran UC/UM server with IP handsets utilizing PRI voice trunks provided by GPC. We buried fiber optic cable to multiple buildings within the Adams Land & Cattle facility and were then able to install IP phones in the remote buildings utilizing the fiber facilities. GPC Business Solutions offers business customers options to cover a broad range of communications solutions. They include: Data Networking T1 Service PRI (Primary Rate Interface) Connections SIP-Trunking PBX Systems Hybrid PBX s with UC / UM (Unified Communication / Unified Messaging) A big advantage of choosing GPC Business Solutions is having a one-stop shop for everything from the service up to the building to the communication equipment inside the building. TONY MARTIN, MANAGER OF BUSINESS SOLUTIONS, GREAT PLAINS COMMUNICATIONS What benefits can a business expect from choosing GPC Business Solutions? Martin replies, A big advantage of choosing GPC Business Solutions is having a one-stop shop for everything from the service up to the building to the communication equipment inside the building. GPC Business Solutions also offers a variety of service arrangements including lease equipment, managed services and maintenance contracts. This variety accommodates the different needs of businesses in terms of their budgets and in-house tech capabilities. To find out more about GPC Business Solutions, call for information or to schedule an onsite evaluation. Spring
8 Two Broken Bow hotels agree we re very accommodating. We get great service from Great Plains. They re local and very expedient in helping us out. I also like the fact they handle it all wireless Internet, telephone and cable TV. BRYAN MORRIS, GENERAL MANAGER, COBBLESTONE HOTEL & SUITES Great Plains has been wonderful not only for the Arrow Hotel but for Broken Bow in general. I remember the slow Internet connections we experienced before Great Plains came to town. ANNE THOMAS, OWNER, ARROW HOTEL Call today to discuss communications solutions for your business.
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