Don’t Lose to Lag: A Gamer’s Guide to Latency and Ping

Don’t Lose to Lag: A Gamer’s Guide to Latency and Ping

When you’re in the midst of an intense match, every millisecond counts. But your lightning-fast reflexes don’t do much good if your internet connection can’t keep up! In today’s blog, we’re talking about the secret sauce for a flawless online gaming experience: low latency and ping.

(Spoiler alert: You’re about to discover why gamers in FPUAnet Communications prefer our fiber internet to power their fun!)

What Is Latency?

Let’s begin with some basic definitions, as both latency and ping are terms that are fairly technical. Latency and ping are often used interchangeably, but they’re actually separate (though related) concepts.

First, latency is the amount of time (measured in milliseconds, or “ms” for short) it takes for internet data and information (i.e., a “data packet”) to be sent back-and-forth from one designated point to another.

To put it in gaming terms, latency refers to the total time it takes anything a gamer “inputs” while playing a game on his or her device (and internet) to be received by the game’s server and returned back to the gamer’s device. In Fortnite, for example, that could be a “command” for a character to run in a particular direction or use a skill.

Those commands (or inputs) are sent from a player’s device and internet to Fortnite’s servers and then returned to the player’s home internet and device on the screen. What matters is just how fast that happens, and if there is any delay.

Low Latency (Good!) and High Latency (Bad!)

To reiterate, the measure of the time that round-trip of gaming data takes is called latency—and the shorter amount of time that trip takes, the better! Gamers need the response time of their own inputs and the game’s servers’ responses to those inputs in return to be as short as possible—even undetectable by the user.

This refers to “low latency,” which gamers (and other savvy internet users) value highly. The lower the latency, the faster the response time—and the better the experience for players. Typically, gamers will want latency to be 50ms or less. Ideally, however, 20ms or less is the sweet spot, with single digit latency being the “Holy Grail” for dedicated gamers.

On the other hand, “high latency,” which refers to longer, even delayed responses to a gamer’s inputs can be deeply frustrating and lead to dismal user experiences. Gamers will notice problems when latency exceeds 100ms (or to some particularly-discerning players, even when latency is higher than 50ms). Games will be practically unplayable when latency is higher than 200ms.

That’s why gamers must always consider an internet connection’s latency to optimize their play. And measuring that latency is where ping comes into play!

What Is Ping?

We now turn to ping, which can refer to two ideas in computing. But remember, it’s common to use the terms ping and latency interchangeably. So, first, in common parlance, ping can, like latency, refer to the delay of travel time of data being sent over an internet connection. (This is also sometimes called “lag.”)

Additionally, however, there is a second use of ping that is different but interrelated to latency. In that other context, ping also refers to a utility program on internet-connected devices that sends out a signal to measure the length of time it takes for a user’s device to hit (or “ping”) a server. 

You’ve probably heard that you should “test your ping.” Well, testing ping involves using that built-in utility to measure the response time and even diagnose any network connectivity problems. To keep things simple, ping is usually tested as part of a speed test to help you predict your latency during game-time.

We know these terms can sound redundant or even confusing. What’s important to remember, however, is that gamers will want low latency, low ping, and minimal lag for a better experience no matter what terms are used!

Why Gamers Need Fiber

Having explained these terms, we next turn to why fiber is simply the best technology for gamers to drastically minimize latency and ping.

Compared to older forms of internet like copper-wired coaxial cable, fiber’s advanced materials can send data over an internet connection at nearly the speed of light. That means that fiber’s speeds routinely hit or exceed 1 gig per second! And in general, the higher the download speed, the lower the latency.

But fiber’s exceptional download speeds are just the beginning. Fiber’s generous bandwidth also plays a role in improving latency and ping, as the greater the bandwidth capacity, the more information can be transmitted back-and-forth over an internet connection at any one moment. That allows more data to seamlessly transfer in fewer milliseconds, dramatically lowering latency and improving the response times gamers experience.

How Much Internet Speed Do I Need?

Use our internet speed calculator to get a personalized internet speed recommendation based on how you use the internet.

 

 

So if you’re ready to rid yourself of high latency and the delayed response times due to slower, inferior internet reach out to FPUAnet Communications today. Our knowledgeable agents can answer any questions you may have about our advanced fiber network and plans. And for more tips to optimize your gaming experience, follow FPUAnet Communications’ social pages!

Fiber Internet Increases Home Values

Fiber Internet Increases Home Values

Move over kitchens and bathrooms–fiber has moved up on the must-have list for homebuyers. Now more than ever before, people want to work, learn, and access telehealth applications from home. Modern lifestyles require modern internet powered by a fiber network.

In fact, a 2023 study showed that fiber-delivered internet access could increase a home’s value by almost 5%. On average, U.S. consumers would require a 4.9% decrease in price for a non-fiber home, a 3.2% decrease for a non-fiber condo, and a 12.8% decrease for a non-fiber apartment.

What’s the Data Saying?

The Fiber Broadband Association’s (FBA) 2023 consumer research study highlights that fiber is no longer just a bonus–it’s a necessity. U.S. consumers rated high-quality broadband as the second most important amenity in a home, just after a laundry room.

Nearly two-thirds of all consumers consider fiber to be the best internet service delivery method in terms of speed and reliability.

Beyond that, there is an increasing body of research linking investment in broadband networks with accelerated economic performance. Communities with fast and reliable fiber networks often exhibit higher rates of per capita GDP.

Fast and Reliable Internet for Remote Workers

Not only is the Internet a prime source of communication and entertainment, but it’s also essential for the American white-collar workforce. With over 40% of Americans working remotely full-time or part-time as of June 2023, fast, secure, and reliable internet has become an invaluable asset.

Remote workers favor fiber internet because cable internet can be significantly slower and far less reliable than fiber.

Cable internet speeds typically range from 10-250 Mbps for downloads and 5-50 Mbps for uploads. Fiber internet, however, can provide 250-1,000 Mbps for both downloads and uploads—a critical benefit for those looking to use video conferencing tools at home.

The Future of Fiber

Even those who don’t work from home are more likely to want high-speed internet for telehealth applications than they were a few years ago. Five times more patients utilize telehealth services now than before the COVID-19 pandemic, and that number is expected to increase.

Thankfully, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) $42 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program is working to catch up to consumers’ needs. According to the FBA, the amount of fiber deployed over the next five years will nearly match the total amount of fiber that has been deployed throughout history.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, better broadband equals increased property values, more opportunities for remote work, and enhanced access to digital services like telehealth and streaming. And, of course, better opportunities yield innovation.

Increased access to fiber promotes job creation, upward mobility, entrepreneurship, expanding local businesses, and attracting new ones.

Fiber brings massive benefits to communities, so it’s no wonder fiber increases individual home values too! To learn more about fiber availability at your home, contact FPUAnet Communications today. We’d love to get you connected.

Five Reasons to Break Up with Your Current Internet Provider

Five Reasons to Break Up with Your Current Internet Provider

Sluggish speeds, data caps, hidden fees, and poor customer service? It’s not you, it’s them.

Today, we’re highlighting five signs you should break up with your current internet provider—and hook up with FPUAnet Communications’ high-speed fiber internet service instead!

Reason #1 Your Internet Just Doesn’t Have the Speed to Keep Up with You

If you’re like most people, you just can’t wait to binge your favorite series or keep up with live sports or current events. But if you’ve noticed your internet is just too sluggish to keep up with the content you love, then it’s time to show your current internet provider the door!

Older forms of internet like DSL and coaxial cable just don’t have the download speeds that fiber does because they’re literally using materials built for other uses. Cable was made to transmit television signals, while DSL was designed for voice service. Fiber optic cable, on the other hand, can transmit internet signal at nearly the speed of light!

Thus, fiber internet, like the kind delivered by FPUAnet Communications, is capable of extreme download speeds of greater than 1 gigabyte per second. Our internet can keep up with you and stream all the movies, TV shows, and live entertainment you could possibly want.

Reason #2 Your Internet’s Bandwidth Isn’t Giving You the Space You Need to Thrive

You might also find that your current internet provider isn’t giving you the “space” you need to live your best life—and in this case, we’re talking about bandwidth. Bandwidth refers to the quantity of data an internet connection can send to your devices per second. 

While internet speed is fairly self-explanatory and easy to understand, greater bandwidth is just as essential to a home’s internet service as speed. High bandwidth capacity is particularly vital in households with people who stream simultaneously on multiple smart TV’s, enjoy online gaming, or download (or upload) online videos.

Fiber’s cutting-edge materials and state-of-the-art networking make its bandwidth capacity considerably greater than cable and other forms of internet. Fiber’s generous bandwidth means that everyone in your household will have the space they need to do just about anything they want online without fighting over who’s using the internet at a given time.

Reason #3 You’re Done with Monthly Data Caps

If you’re tired of your internet company slowing down your internet with data caps each month, it’s time to dump them and switch to fiber.

You might be asking why your internet company caps your data in the first place. Well, they do so to keep from overloading their systems, which lack sufficient bandwidth to serve all their customers properly (because their technology just can’t cover it the way fiber can). Thus, these inferior internet technologies require providers to “cap” the amount of data each household uses each month.

Those data caps trigger dreaded slowdowns in internet quality, which can really annoy you when you’re trying to binge a series or watch a live sports event. And some companies will even charge extra fees for exceeding your data cap.

Because of fiber’s bandwidth capabilities, you’ll never need to worry about data caps! FPUAnet Communications’ advanced fiber network gives you and your family enough room to spread your wings online without the limitations of data caps or slowdowns cable and other older internet technologies usually require.

Reason #4 Trust Issues—Like Hiding Fees and Costs on Your Bill

Another reason to break up with your current internet provider relates to a crucial element of any relationship: trust and candor. Way too many big internet companies seem to slide hidden fees and costs into their bills to unsuspecting customers.

Initially, these may be surreptitious additions to your bill, often in small amounts. But those do mount up over time, taking a larger chunk out of your annual budget than you originally bargained for.

At FPUAnet Communications, we value being upfront and straightforward with you about our billing and services. We lay out all the costs and fees of our high-speed fiber internet, including any applicable taxes. Keeping trust and open lines of communication with you are top priorities for us, which we will keep throughout our relationship with you. 

Reason #5 Communications Problems—or You Just Can’t Ever Get Through to Them!

Our last reason to split with your current ISP concerns how hard it can be to get through to them! Calling technical assistance or account support to larger internet companies can try the patience of even the best of us. Indeed, with some ISPs, it can take dozens of minutes—or sometimes even hours—to connect to a real human being to help you address your problem.

One of the best ways to “test” your relationship with your current ISP is to call them and start a stopwatch (or use a stopwatch app on your smartphone) and time how long it takes to get in touch with a customer service representative. FPUAnet Communications prides itself on its efficient response time and the resourcefulness of our friendly, local staff. You can feel confident that you will reach us when you need us.

These are just five of the best reasons to cut ties with your current internet company and make the switch to fiber with FPUAnet Communications. To learn more about our fiber network and why it’s simply the best internet you can get, follow our social pages!

How to Prepare for (and Ace!) Your Next Virtual Job Interview

How to Prepare for (and Ace!) Your Next Virtual Job Interview

Virtual interviewing is becoming more and more common in today’s job market. While remote interviewing may be more convenient, the distance and technical difficulties can be awkward, or even jarring, to would-be applicants.  

Fortunately, there are tips from interviewing experts that prospective job seekers can use to get through—and even nail—a virtual job interview. We share some of their key insights and recommendations below.

The Interview Environment: Organize and Professionalize Your Space

You already know you should “dress for success” and make sure that you look your polished best for an interview. But when you’re interviewing from your home, the interview space and background could be distracting, even off-putting, to potential employers. Take the time to make your space look its best, too.

Clean and Declutter: This seems obvious, but make sure you take the time to de-clutter your surroundings, whether it is your bedroom or home office desk. Show your would-be bosses that you quite literally have it together at home, which will make a better impression of being grounded and composed.

Lighting: Proper lighting is a detail too often overlooked. Be sure to “light yourself” from the front, and not from the back! The latter can create a rather eerie, even sinister visage. Where possible, aim for “cool light,” which is whiter in color, rather than “warm light,” which is yellower. These seemingly small details help put your best foot forward.

Interviewing Skills and Tips

There are countless tips on interviewing available online, but we share a few below that are particularly relevant to remote interviewing.

Keep Any Notes Short and (Mostly) Out of the Way

Like in any interview, try to not over-rely on notes. It is easy to get flustered and lose your place in notes, so keep them sparse and well-organized. Index cards placed outside the viewing area may be especially helpful, with key information and points printed largely and visible to you, but out of sight from the interviewers. 

Keep Eye Contact—And Look Into the Camera, Not at Your “Mirrored Image”

Another common mistake is the awkward “stare” that people make when they forget to look into the camera, and instead watch their own reflected image while using the app. You will look less engaged, and even odd, at least compared to applicants that remembered to look “correctly” at the camera.

Watch Your Speaking Pace

Avoid speaking too quickly, a common giveaway of nervousness. Practice and rehearse answers to likely questions, and time how quickly you are speaking.

An Interview is a Conversation

Ultimately, an interview is just another conversation. A back-and-forth discussion makes for a much better interview, so be sure to have researched the job thoroughly and come prepared with questions. Look engaged when the interviewer is speaking by maintaining eye contact (see above about looking into the webcam!) and nodding your head occasionally. Don’t miss an opportunity to add something of value to what the interviewer says.  

Get Internet You Can Rely On

One last tip: Make sure you have high-speed internet with fast download and upload speeds that you can rely on for a steady connection throughout your interview. (Adequate upload speeds ensure your video is clear for the interviewer on the other side of the virtual table.)

With the internet from FPUAnet Communications, you can video call without fear of a dropped connection or glitchy experience, so you can tackle your interview with confidence.

Parental Settings for Smart TVs

Parental Settings for Smart TVs

If you’re like most parents, you may feel frustrated when something as innocent and simple as turning on your smart TV can display gory images from ads for horror movies or suggestions for suggestive—or even outright raunchy—content on the home screen before you even navigate to your preferred apps and platforms.

While parental controls within streaming platforms don’t kick in until you open their apps, there is good news: Many smart TVs have parental control options and settings built right into their operating systems.

Below we discuss some of the settings parents can make on many of the most popular brands of smart TVs. Combining these parental controls on smart TVs with in-app settings enhances protection—and gives peace of mind to parents as they and their families enjoy FPUAnet Communications’ high-speed fiber internet and pristine streaming quality!

Smart TVs With Parental Control Settings

We begin with popular smart TVs that have parental control settings: LG and Samsung, as well as Google TV, which is preinstalled on many well-known smart TV brands such as Sony. Many other brands, including Fire TV, offer similar parental controls (and similar ways of establishing them), so we present these brands as models for exploring your options. 

In general, you can search for safety, security and parental controls in the Settings Menu of any of the models below. Some brands include more features than others, so check each of them out carefully before buying a new model.

LG Smart TV’s

Most LG smart TVs made over the last several years have a few key features to help parents feel more comfortable about letting their children use their television. Specifically, parents can lock channels out entirely, block visual and sound content of certain channels, block programming with certain TV content ratings, and even block access to particular apps. LG also lets parents block inputs to other devices as well, giving an extra layer of protection against “workarounds” a clever child may attempt.

LG uses the most common way smart TVs enable parental controls: the establishment of a PIN and passwords. Parents simply need to set up a PIN to create and manage the protections—and make sure they don’t share that PIN or password with their child! Though it’s probably obvious, be sure to choose a PIN or password that your child isn’t already aware of or cannot easily guess.

Set up is easy: simply navigate to the Settings symbol on the Menu, then click on System Settings, then to Safety Settings, and establish the password or PIN. From there, you can block channels or apps or block out content based on content ratings.

Google TV (Preinstalled on many Sony, TCL, and Hisense Smart TV models)

Next on our list is the increasingly popular Google TV, an operating system that is preferred by many customers for its easy integration within the Google ecosystem of apps and smart home devices, like Google Nest. You can find Google TV on many brands of popular smart TVs, including Hisense, Sony, and TCL, and on some Chromecast models.

Google TV has an option many parents will immediately appreciate: the ability to establish Restricted Profiles. Through Google TV’s Restricted Profiles, you can set content restrictions and limit what younger members of your family can watch when on their profile.

The only “downside” to Google TV’s approach is that parents (or any older viewer) need to remember to set the TV back to “Restricted Profiles” whenever the parent’s “unrestricted” use is complete. That way, when your children turn on the TV, they will immediately be in the Restricted Profile, with all the protections and limitations you previously established for their profile.

Samsung TV

Lastly, we consider Samsung, another popular smart TV. Like the LG smart TV discussed above, Samsung also lets parents set up a PIN or password to block channels or limit content to particular ratings.

Just follow these simple steps: First, head to your Menu and go to Settings. From there select Broadcasting, and then choose Program Rating Lock Settings. Next, create your PIN. Finally, choose your settings and limitations.

Other Parental Protections to Consider

Beyond setting up parental controls, PINs, restricted profiles, and other limitations and protections within a smart TV, parents should also remember that there are other steps they can take as well. Most apps, like Netflix, have built-in parental settings, including user profiles. These profiles can be set to filter content that is less than kid-appropriate, while still allowing other users to stream what they want in their own PIN-protected profile.

Additionally, streaming sticks and boxes also have parental control settings and options, beyond just the individual apps. Recall that streaming sticks and boxes can turn any TV with an HDMI connection into a smart TV. Roku and Apple TV are two ever-popular streaming devices, and both have settings and restrictions parents can implement.

By employing these recommendations, parents can breathe a bit more easily as they stream on FPUAnet Communications’ advanced fiber network. For more tips on staying safe online, follow FPUAnet Communications’ social pages!

Five Tips for Scoring an Esports Scholarship

Five Tips for Scoring an Esports Scholarship

Though many parents may be skeptical about their teen’s passion for video gaming (and the seemingly extensive number of hours they play them), they might be surprised—and even impressed—by the economic opportunities brought about by gaming, especially in competitive esports. Perhaps the most eye-popping impressive statistic parents and their college-bound kids should be aware of is the tremendous amount of esports scholarships available for college: $16 million according to the most recent data!

Below, we provide several tips for gamers who want to take their hobby to the next level and help them pay for their college education through esports.

When combined with their skills and many hours of playing on FPUAnet Communications’ advanced fiber network—the fastest, most reliable internet a gamer can utilize—these tips may help students outperform the competition and get a well-merited scholarship for their future.

Tip 1: Join a Gaming Club and/or Compete for a Spot on a High School Esports Team

If possible, join a gaming club and/or compete for a spot on a high school esports team. Joining a gaming club or playing on a high school esports team puts you in direct contact with players you’re not used to playing against, which are probably your friends and other family members. Those players already know your abilities and weaknesses—and you know theirs.

Thus, to truly get ahead, you need to start playing against different people, and in a more competitive arena. Joining a gaming club can start you on the road to more competitive play, improved tactics and skills, and college-level esports.

Similarly, high school gaming teams provide an environment comparable to competitive esports at the collegiate and professional levels. They also teach additional gaming skills and techniques you might not be well versed in, introduce you to other games you haven’t yet mastered, and give you actual tournament experience—all the factors, in short, that collegiate teams are looking for and that improve your chances of achieving an esports scholarship.

Tip 2: Record Your Gaming Sessions

As you continue to hone your gaming skills and gain more experience playing competitively, we recommend you record your gameplay. It’s simple to do and there are many apps available to create recordings of your games, so check out their features and make a few practice recordings.

Recording your gaming sessions lets you see your progress—and learn from your own mistakes. It also allows you to “show off” your skills and achievements to others and gain feedback from them, too. Even more importantly, esports recruiters, especially coaches, will want to see examples of your esports play (see Tips 3 and 4, below).

Tip 3: Create an Esports “Highlight Reel”

Having tested your mettle in a gaming club or on a team, and recorded and reviewed your sessions to improve your gameplay, consider creating a highlight reel of your best gaming experiences. This is similar to what other high school athletes in other sports like football and basketball do. It takes some time to learn to edit and splice a highlight reel, but it’s a useful skill for self-marketing—and for other areas of life, too.

But don’t just think of a highlight reel as a braggadocious ego trip. An esports highlight reel can be used to pique the attention of esports recruiters and coaches, who are always scoping out rising talent and who need a quick pitch that stands out from the rest of the pack.

Tip 4: Reach Out to College Esports Coaches

Dedicated esports players should attempt to contact esports coaches as early as they can during their college search and application process—preferably even before the application and scholarship process begins, if possible. While esports coaches and recruiters follow Twitch and similar esports platforms to find and assess players, would-be esports scholarship winners should take the initiative and reach out directly to coaches.

Putting yourself on an esports coach’s radar early—and continuing to share progress, achievements and wins with them through your highlight reels—can have an enormous impact on scholarship success. Be confident and assertive in your communications with coaches, but don’t overdo it, either. Striking the right balance between self-confidence and humility is also key, so be mindful of your approach.

Tip 5: Think Beyond the Game

Finally, remember that most colleges aren’t just looking to train professional gamers. Indeed, many colleges award esports scholarships to gamers with tangential interests like video production, coding and programming, graphics design, and marketing.

Resourceful applicants should highlight these gaming-related interests and any experience they may have in them in their college and scholarship applications and essays. These additional interests and experiences help candidates stand out—and may just be the decisive factor.

By joining up with other gamers you don’t usually play against, competing on high school teams, improving your gameplay, and showing off your talents online and to coaches, you’re well on your way to winning an esports scholarship. Above all, stay positive, keep challenging yourself, and keep playing!

With FPUAnet Communications’ fast fiber network, you’ve got the speeds and the bandwidth to handle just about any game. And with any luck—and some hard work—all that distortion-free gameplay may pay off in the form of a generous esports scholarship, too! 

Follow FPUAnet Communications’ social pages to keep up with esports and to learn more about online gaming. Feel free to reach out to our friendly experts if you’re interested in an upgrade to make your gaming experience even better!

FPUAnet Communications Launches Fiber Internet in Lincoln Park

FPUAnet Communications Launches Fiber Internet in Lincoln Park

Fiber internet is the fastest and most reliable internet technology available

Fort Pierce, Florida – November 16, 2023 – FPUAnet Communications, a division of the Fort Pierce Utilities Authority (FPUA), is pleased to announce the launch of fiber internet service in the Lincoln Park area of Fort Pierce.

Fiber internet is the fastest and most reliable internet technology available, and it will provide Lincoln Park residents and businesses with the speeds and bandwidth they need to thrive in the digital age.

“We are excited to bring fiber internet to Lincoln Park,” said Jason Mittler, FPUAnet manager.

“Fiber internet will provide Lincoln Park residents and businesses with the speeds and bandwidth they need to work, learn, and engage online. It will also help to attract new businesses and residents to the area, and support economic development.”

FPUAnet is offering a variety of fiber internet plans to Lincoln Park residents, with speeds up to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps).

Fiber internet is symmetrical, which means that upload and download speeds are the same, making it ideal for activities such as video conferencing, streaming high-definition video, and school work.

FPUAnet would like to thank the following partners for their support in making this launch possible:

  • Allegany Franciscan Ministries
  • The City of Fort Pierce
  • St. Lucie County

“We are grateful for the support of our partners on helping to bridge the digital divide; bringing fiber internet to Lincoln Park,” said Mittler.

“This launch is a testament to our commitment to providing the Lincoln Park community with the best possible internet service.”

The service will be available to Lincoln Park residential customers for as low as $1 per month if they also qualify for the federally funded Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).

This rate is made possible through a combination of discounts provided by the ACP, Alleghany Franciscan Ministries, St. Lucie County, and the City of Fort Pierce.

“We want to make fiber internet accessible to everyone in Lincoln Park,” said Mittler. “Our partnerships along with the ACP offer is a great way for residents to experience the benefits of fiber internet at an affordable price.”

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About FPUAnet Communications: FPUAnet Communications is a division of the Fort Pierce Utilities Authority (FPUA) that provides high-speed fiber optic internet service to residents, businesses and institutions in Fort Pierce and surrounding areas. FPUAnet is committed to providing its customers with the fastest, most reliable, and most affordable internet service possible. Additional information is available at https://fpuanet.com/.

About FPUA: Fort Pierce Utilities Authority is a municipal, not-for-profit utility provider. FPUA’s mission is to provide our customers with economical, reliable, and friendly service in a continuous effort to enhance the quality of life in our community. Fort Pierce is one of more than 2,000 communities in the United States served by a community-owned electric utility, and one of very few who also provide water, wastewater, natural gas, and Internet services. Public utility systems are owned by the people they serve. All benefits from our locally controlled utility remain right here in the community. Additional information is available at www.fpua.com.

Esports Scholarships: What You Need to Know 

Esports Scholarships: What You Need to Know 

If you have a gamer in your life, whether it’s your own kid or a family friend’s child, you likely know how much video gaming is integrated into their lives. But even beyond the meteoric success and outright appeal of video gaming to young people (and even many not-so-young people), gaming now provides tangible benefits to serious players: competitive esports and esports college scholarships.

Parents of college-bound gamers might want to pay attention below, as we discuss college-level esports and the burgeoning ecosystem of esports scholarships. And don’t forget that the high-speed fiber internet delivered to smart TVs and gaming devices by FPUAnet Communications may just give the budding esports scholar in your life the edge he or she needs to own the competition!

Varsity Esports Are Exploding Across Colleges and Universities    

Following the 2010s and the exponential growth of video gaming and esports, it’s obvious now that collegiate esports are truly taking off as a legitimate competitive endeavor. This explosive growth is mostly due to advancing internet technology like FPUAnet Communications’ fiber network and apps that make gaming more social and more competitive, as well as increased talent among players. Indeed today, there are approximately 500 American colleges and universities offering esports scholarships.

Every year, more and more colleges and universities across the United States add varsity esports programs to their rosters. And yes, we did say “varsity”—as in intercollegiate competition, not just a club or diversionary dorm room duel. Robert Morris University was the very first college to create a varsity esports team back in 2014—and the trend has only ballooned since then. 

At the varsity and college level, schools typically create individual teams of players around particular games. This gives gamers the opportunity to advance and even excel at strategies and tactics suited to the complexities and skill needs of that title, enhancing the competitiveness of each game and of esports more generally.

Beyond enormously popular and well-known titles like Fortnite (played by untold millions of people around the world both casually and competitively), several other titles are most commonly played at varsity level esports in colleges and universities in North America. In particular, Call of Duty, League of Legends, Rocket League, Smash Bros, and Valorant are among the most frequently duked-out games in collegiate esports.

Other games are also increasingly popular, however. Overwatch is noted for its hero customization and intense fighting, requiring stout players and almost preternatural reaction skills to succeed. Additionally, Rainbow Six: Siege and its almost alchemical blend of gaming genres like strategy and tactical shooting has attracted legions of players to the game based around Tom Clancy’s novels. Both games are fielding more varsity teams and are increasingly seen at college-level esports tournaments.

Collegiate Esports Give Rise to Generous Scholarship Opportunities

Because there are actual competitions and bragging rights to be bandied about, colleges are also competing for the best talent in esports. Thus, more schools are also providing scholarships for their best esports players. That means real dollars are increasingly available that the top gamers can put toward the costs of their higher education. Indeed, in 2017, Harrisburg University became the first college to offer full-rides to its leading esports competitors, including room and board!

Already, an estimated $16 million in college scholarships exist just for esports players—not a small sum for a sport that barely existed only a decade ago. And as collegiate esports continue to rise, we can expect more schools to establish varsity programs, as well as expand their existing esports teams, too.

All this burgeoning esports growth at the college level means that more scholarships—and even larger dollar amounts—are likely to be dedicated to esports gamers. Hence, for the truly talented and committed gamer, esports should be taken seriously, and gamers should consider taking steps to make themselves more competitive for esports scholarship opportunities.

The Esports Gender Divide

Despite the stunning growth in collegiate varsity esports, we hasten to note an important issue inside the gaming and esports community—the gender divide. Though females make up almost 50% of all video gamers (49% to be precise, according to one 2023 analysis), statistics show that men receive 90% of esports scholarships.

With patently lopsided statistics like that, the divide has not gone unnoticed. Arguments abound for this staggering disparity, but at least one likely reason for the imbalance is that most of the games more typically played by female gamers are less likely to be the games that comprise competitive varsity esports in colleges.

With that in mind, however, savvy female gamers with a keen interest in esports games that are played at the varsity collegiate level may want to be particularly on the lookout for scholarship opportunities that have too frequently landed in the hands of their male counterparts. Their unique backgrounds and talents may help give young women an edge over their compatriots in the coming years—and also help broaden and improve the sport as well.

To stay on top of the ever-changing and always-exciting esports scene, follow FPUAnet Communications’ social pages. We’re confident that our high-speed fiber internet can improve any gamer’s experience and perhaps even help prepare them for competitive esports and the worlds of opportunity they open!

Where to Stream Football This Season (2023-24)

Where to Stream Football This Season (2023-24)

With the heat of summer waning and autumn’s crisper air approaching, it’s time for another much-awaited season of the year: football season! And with significant changes and moves among college football team conferences, and major newly-signed players joining the ranks of the NFL, the 2023 football season looks to be one of the most impressive in recent memory.

But in addition to the moving and shaking occurring in the sport itself, many football fans are perplexed—or even frustrated—by some other changes in the way they enjoy their game: the recent shake-ups in broadcasting of live football games. Indeed, many fans are worried that they won’t be able to follow their favorite teams or catch the best games of the week.

Fortunately, with the advanced fiber network of FPUAnet Communications, you can find and stream college and NFL football games live—and with a sharp and pristine picture, too! Below we discuss where you can stream both college and NFL football this season. We’ll walk you through all you need to know so you can keep up with your favorite teams and enjoy all the action!

Streaming College Football

College football fans face no shortage of outstanding face-offs this season. While the traditional networks—ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC—air many marquee matchups, you’re going to need additional providers to get the most out of this year’s college football gameplay. At first glance, finding channels for college football can seem downright byzantine!

Some networks have special deals with individual conferences and schools for many of the year’s prime showdowns, including Fox (Big Ten), CBS (SEC), and NBC (perennial broadcasting home to Notre Dame football). However, it’s ESPN and its affiliated channels that provide the most coverage of college football.

That means it’s critical to have access to ESPN2 and ESPNU as well as to ESPN (and the networks). For even more college games, you’ll also want to check out CBS Sports Network and FOX Sports 1 (FS1), as well. Beyond these options, don’t forget about channels devoted to specific college football conferences, including the Big Ten and SEC, which also have their own networks, as do the ACC and PAC-12.

But you don’t need a cable cord to enjoy it all, thanks to high-speed fiber internet from FPUAnet Communications! For cord-cutters and streamers wishing to capture as many of these channels as possible, selecting a live-streaming TV app is your best first step.

For starters, Hulu + Live TV is an outstanding option for a few reasons, including its deal with Disney and ESPN. You’ll get streaming access to all the college football games available on ESPN’s channels plus most live network channels too.

Many fans also rave about fuboTV, a streaming service originally tailor-made for sports that brings you a ton of college football every week. And Sling TV’s Orange + Blue package includes a suite of channels for many games, as well. You’ll want to make sure that the teams and conferences you care most about are covered by the streaming apps and channels in any of these three options, but for most fans, any of them will suit.

NFL Football Streaming Options

For pro football fans, there are also a wide range of ways to watch your preferred team—while also keeping an eye on rivals, too! Like with college football, networks like CBS and Fox cover AFC and NFC games on Sundays. However, viewers are subject to local market games (and potential blackouts, as well), severely curtailing their options.

Fortunately, streaming technology and high-speed internet like FPUAnet Communications’ fiber network have opened a whole new way to follow the entire season without the drag of cable subscriptions! Indeed, NFL fans have several options (and price points) that may suit their professional football preferences perfectly.

Let’s begin with the big kahuna in live football streaming today: NFL Sunday Ticket on YouTube TV.  Though expensive, NFL diehards will find it indispensable, as you can watch just about any NFL game you want. And yes—that means you can follow your favorite team (and its arch-nemesis to boot) whether you are in that team’s broadcasting market or not! Or if your team is just not cutting it on any given Sunday, you can use NFL Sunday Ticket to easily flip to another game in progress. It’s a phenomenal way to keep track of the NFL this year.

Of course, not everyone needs the breadth of NFL football coverage that YouTube TV’s NFL Sunday Ticket provides. Even with Sunday Ticket, to enjoy every NFL game this year, you’ll still need access to other streaming football apps and channels, including Prime Video’s streaming-exclusive Thursday Night Football. And don’t forget that the NFL action on Sunday doesn’t end with the afternoon games. You can catch Sunday Night Football on NBC’s streaming app, Peacock, too, making your day of rest (and football!) complete.

Like with college football, you’ll want to have a live-streaming TV app for even basic viewing. The previously lauded YouTube TV is one option, as are Fubo and Sling TV’s Orange + Blue package. And again, Hulu + Live TV and its ESPN connections are another superior choice, particularly with its easy access to Monday Night Football.

We hope our guide to streaming college and professional football will help you better navigate the sometimes-tangled web of options available today. For more tips on making the most of FPUAnet Communications’ high-speed fiber network, follow our social pages!

What the Recent Spectrum/Disney Debacle Means for You

What the Recent Spectrum/Disney Debacle Means for You

In early September 2023, millions of Spectrum customers turned on their TVs and discovered that some channels, including ABC and ESPN, were suddenly missing from their television lineup.

The reason for the blackout? A contract dispute between two giants in the entertainment and communications industries: Disney and Spectrum.

Though the quarreling has abated, and the blackout is now over, millions of viewers remain uneasy about the dispute and its impact on their lives—especially football fans, some of whom lost ESPN access right in the middle of watching a game! And many are wondering what, if anything, they can do to give themselves more agency to prevent such a dispute from disrupting their lives.

Below we briefly explain the dispute between Disney and Spectrum. We also discuss how switching to streaming television by utilizing FPUAnet Communications’ high-speed fiber network can help viewers avoid losing their favorite shows in the next corporate clash.

The Combatants: Spectrum vs. Disney

Let’s begin with the players in the dispute. Spectrum, owned by Charter Communications, is one of the biggest cable television providers in America.

Disney, which controls far more than just Mickey Mouse, Cinderella, and a host of other beloved Disney characters, is a media powerhouse. The brand owns ABC and ESPN, as well as FX and many other television channels. That means Disney is ultimately responsible for some of the biggest, most profitable brands and titles in all of entertainment and sports, including Monday Night Football.

And when the two couldn’t come to an agreement on their contract, it looked like no one would win—especially television viewers.  

What Caused the Disney-Spectrum Dispute?

Contract negotiations are usually dull affairs, even when the stakes are high. But the Disney-Spectrum dispute was different, and not just because millions of people lost their content. At the heart of the dispute is what every cable provider must pay annually to provide their customers with channels: carriage fees.

Carriage fees are paid by cable companies to the content producers—in this case, Disney, and its ABC, ESPN, FX, National Geographic and other affiliates. Disney was demanding a higher carriage fee than Spectrum was willing to pay.

When neither company was willing to bend, Spectrum lost the ability to bring those channels to its customers, leading to a blackout for customers across 41 states.

The outrage was immediate, as viewers and fans realized they were blocked out of content they’d been waiting for all year, especially major sports events and tournaments. “College football season is just starting—where are the games?”  “What happened to the U.S. Open?” “What about Monday Night Football?”

And the anger wasn’t just limited to living rooms at home. Sports bars and other restaurants contended with furious customers, who had planned to watch marquee matchups live and amongst a lively crowd, just as they always had, before realizing they couldn’t, thanks to the corporate squabbling. 

In the end, after more than 10 days, the two sides had a “meeting of the minds,” and settled their dispute. ABC, ESPN, FX, National Geographic, and the other Disney-owned channels returned to Spectrum cable channel lineups. But cable viewers have not forgotten. And cable may not be quite the same again.

The Rise of Streaming

The ten-day blackout may be over, but the core issue extends beyond just these two companies and their dispute. With the rise of streaming TV platforms and services, which give more power to consumers to choose the kinds of content they actually want to pay for and view, cable companies and their longstanding tradition of “channel bundling” are facing a reckoning.

Cable’s channel bundling and its inherent inefficiencies are symptomatic of a broader problem in the cable television industry. These days, cable packages are just too bloated—and too expensive—for most customers. And those customers now have the option to stream TV, which gives them much more control over their content choices and their home entertainment budget at the same time.

Understanding, that customers are jumping ship and leaving cable behind. Indeed, according to some market analysts, five million people end their cable subscriptions every year as they make the switch to streaming services.

Streaming Gives Consumers More Control

One popular misunderstanding is that cutting the cord means you’ll only have access to on-demand content (like Netflix). But streaming actually allows you to subscribe to services that give you just about any television content you want—including live TV.

That means you can enjoy live sports action, breaking news and analysis, network comedies, prestige dramas, documentaries, lifestyle-themed shows, and almost everything else you liked with cable. And you’re far less dependent on the whims and market maneuverings of a massive company and its team of legal eagles to make decisions that cut you off from your favorite programming.

If nothing else, the Disney-Spectrum debacle should remind consumers of two radically different but interconnected realities: their utter powerlessness in carriage fee disputes as a cable customer, and their power to bypass those shenanigans through the freedom of streaming TV.

And with the reliability and pristine picture quality fiber internet from FPUAnet Communications delivers, consumers can feel in control of their home entertainment once they cut the cable cord and switch to streaming.

Keep following FPUAnet Communications’ social pages to stay on top of more streaming entertainment news!

Eight Real-Life Ways Fiber Internet Makes a Difference

Eight Real-Life Ways Fiber Internet Makes a Difference

Just about any of our customers who have already made the switch from older forms of internet (like cable) to fiber broadband will tell you that fiber’s advanced technology is vastly superior to anything else they’ve used.

From downloading files at near-lightspeed, to voluminous amounts of available bandwidth for handling multiple applications simultaneously, to more reliable material components that provide pristine streaming TV and movie experiences, fiber is simply heads-and-shoulders above cable, DSL, and satellite internet.

But those are just technical specs—and that doesn’t tell even half the story! Fiber internet, like the kind delivered by FPUAnet Communications, can genuinely enhance your quality of life in a myriad of ways, including the following eight use cases we’re proud to support in Fort Pierce.

1. Telehealth Expedites Critical Health Interventions

We begin with everyone’s top priority—keeping their family healthy. And the internet now plays a significant role in delivering healthcare to millions. Telehealth, which allows physicians and other medical professionals to provide initial consultations (and other healthcare) from a patient’s home, has expanded massively in recent years.

Telehealth helps doctors and patients assess when more urgent in-person care is needed (and when it’s not). Prescriptions can get filled faster with telehealth, and consultations over the internet can even assist in properly applying first aid to injuries.

Telehealth consultations can be performed quickly and reliably thanks to fiber’s bounty of bandwidth, which lets audio and video data transfer between doctor and patient seamlessly. Many doctors won’t make a diagnosis when a poor internet connection causes choppy video calls, but that’s not a problem when the patient has fiber!

2. Remote Work Improves Convenience and Productivity

While remote work isn’t for everyone, it can be life-changing for caregivers who need a little more flexibility. Plus, while avoiding the hassles of commutes and traffic delays, remote workers also save money on gasoline and reduce their carbon footprint.

While many workers and employers decide to go fully remote, even partial remote work flexibility can be a blessing. But it takes a particularly robust internet connection to facilitate remote work (especially video conferencing), which isn’t always supported by inferior connections like satellite.

Fiber’s symmetrical downloads and uploads let workers send and receive large files and transmit data during long meetings and conferences, making a remote staff member genuinely feel part of the team!

3. Distance Education Allows Students to Gain Skills and Get Ahead

Access to higher education is more attainable than ever, thanks to the multitude of online distance learning opportunities available through colleges and universities around the country.

From undergraduate and graduate degrees to technical certifications, the internet puts education within reach for many who thought it was impossible or beyond their means while helping them achieve the skills necessary to meet their career goals.

Fiber internet’s enormous bandwidth facilitates reliable distance learning and even genuine classroom experiences. It allows students and professors to share large files like presentations or lectures in real-time and enables video conferencing to foster learning and growth, including one-on-one student-faculty interactions—all without sweating frequent distortions or outages that frustrate students on older internet technologies.

4. Lifelong Learning Keeps the Mind Active and Engaged

Beyond bringing official degree and certificate programs to students, fiber internet also facilitates a less formal but still highly valued form of education: lifelong learning. Lifelong learning provides opportunities for the curious to understand their world—and even the universe—well after college ends.

Several companies and major universities, such as Wondrium (formerly The Great Courses), edX, Harvard, and Yale have developed extensive online course offerings. You can find classes from prestigious professors spanning topics like ancient Greek history, Renaissance art, classical music, modern astronomy, and more.

And many courses are available free of charge! Through fiber’s near-lightspeed downloading, these courses can be streamed and enjoyed right from your home.

5. Virtual Reality Lets You Explore the World from Home

Fiber’s hefty bandwidth and vigorous download speeds also brings the wonder of Virtual Reality to your home—and with it, the travel experiences many have only dreamed about! Unlike traditional forms of entertainment, VR’s wonderous technology envelopes a user in multiple dimensions of visual and sound effects.

VR—through fiber internet—makes viewers literally feel like they’re wherever VR is showing them, whether it’s a tour of the Grand Canyon or an Amazon rainforest, an astronaut’s view from outer space, or a sonorous symphony hall.

Fiber’s speed and bandwidth combined with VR technology allows you to explore Paris’ Louvre Museum one day, and the Colosseum in Rome the next without ever leaving your living room!

6. Smart Homes Save Energy, Time, and Money

Fiber internet and its spectacular speeds and enormous bandwidth capacities make it possible to power a genuine smart home—a place brimming with tech and devices to cut energy usage and costs and make life better and more efficient.

From smart refrigerators that let you know when it’s time to get a new gallon of milk, to smart lighting that cuts off when you leave home, to smart speakers playing music (or soundscapes) throughout every room, smart home technology can turn your dwelling into the home of your dreams.

Remember that fiber can keep these devices and smart home features running smoothly, while still letting you stream TV and movies, upload videos, and enjoy everything else about your internet. Unlike other forms of internet, with fiber, you’re not forced to choose which online activity to sacrifice at any given time!

7. Smart Home Security Makes for Safer Homes and Neighborhoods

One smart home feature everyone should take advantage of is improved real-time safety and security delivered by smart lighting, smart cameras, smart doorbells, and related tech. Fiber-powered devices can monitor your home for security threats at all times, whether you’re tucked in your own bed upstairs or thousands of miles away on vacation.

Additionally, outdoor smart lighting and doorbell systems help make your neighborhood safer too, deterring “porch pirates” and other crime. Fiber has the power to keep these crucial smart home safety and security systems running strong while still allowing you to stay productive and engaged in other online activities simultaneously.

8. Video Calling Keeps You Connected Face-to-Face

Lastly, fiber’s impressive speeds and incredible bandwidth make video calling crystal clear and convenient. Grandparents can easily have face-to-face conversations with their grandchildren, and both sides of the call can see faces as well as hear voices.

Video calling is simply a much more intimate way to stay in touch than by phoning or emailing. Fiber enables this improved communication without the distortions and interruptions that plague other types of internet.

The eight examples above are just a small sample of the way fiber internet’s innovative technology enhances your life. From practical matters like health, work, and security, to broadening your worldview and sharing knowledge and world cultures, fiber can improve your well-being, inspire your mind, and uplift you.

To learn additional ways that FPUAnet Communications’ fiber can make a real difference in your life, follow our social pages!

FPUAnet Communications Launches Fiber Internet in Lincoln Park

FPUAnet Fiber Internet Reaches 1,500 Parcels in Fort Pierce, and Growing

Fort Pierce, Florida – September 27, 2023 – FPUAnet Communications, a division of Fort Pierce Utilities Authority (FPUA), is pleased to announce that it has expanded its fiber internet service to over 1,500 parcels in Fort Pierce. This progress represents FPUA’s commitment to bringing affordable, high-speed internet options to Fort Pierce – freeing up customers to choose their internet provider based on what’s important to them.

Fiber-to-the-parcel internet is the fastest and most advanced, reliable internet technology available, and FPUAnet now reaches over 1,500 parcels, covering both residential and commercial customers, in Fort Pierce. “As a municipal service provider, we are owned by the customers we serve, and are fully committed to providing our customers with the best possible service,” said Jason Mittler, Manager of FPUAnet Communications. “We are proudly offering fiber internet at affordable prices and with no data caps or overage fees, so that everyone in Fort Pierce can enjoy the benefits of this amazing technology.”

Fiber offers a number of advantages over traditional copper-based internet, including:

  • Faster speeds: Fiber internet can deliver speeds of up to 1 Gbps, which is significantly faster than traditional copper-based internet.
  • More reliable service: Fiber internet is less susceptible to outages and slowdowns than traditional copper-based internet.
  • Lower latency: Fiber internet has lower latency, which means that there is less delay between sending and receiving data. This is important for activities such as online gaming and video streaming.

Fiber internet is also more scalable than traditional copper-based internet, which means that it can easily handle the increasing demands of internet usage, an important benefit while Fort Pierce and St. Lucie County are growing rapidly.

FPUAnet Communications offers fiber internet plans starting at $49 per month for residential customers and $99 per month for commercial customers. All fiber internet plans include speeds of at least 100 Mbps, with speeds up to 1 Gbps available. FPUAnet also offers enterprise services with speeds up to 10 Gbps.

Crowdfiber build-out may be available where neighborhoods are most interested in receiving fiber internet. Visit www.FPUAnet.com to input your home or business address. The website will indicate whether fiber is already available, or it will let FPUAnet associates know that you are interested in receiving fiber. Larger numbers of interest can help FPUAnet determine where to prioritize build-out, allowing us to best serve you.

“Fiber internet is essential for economic development and job creation,” said Mittler. “We are committed to working with the Fort Pierce community to build a brighter future for all.”

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About FPUAnet: FPUAnet, a division of Fort Pierce Utilities Authority (FPUA), is committed to providing cutting-edge telecommunication services to the residents and businesses of Fort Pierce, FL. With a focus on delivering reliable, high-speed internet connections, FPUAnet is dedicated to supporting the region’s growth and technological advancement. Additional information is available at www.fpuanet.com.

About FPUA: Fort Pierce Utilities Authority is a municipal, not-for-profit utility provider. FPUA’s mission is to provide our customers with economical, reliable, and friendly service in a continuous effort to enhance the quality of life in our community. Fort Pierce is one of more than 2,000 communities in the United States served by a community-owned electric utility, and one of very few who also provide water, wastewater, natural gas, and Internet services. Public utility systems are owned by the people they serve. All benefits from our locally controlled utility remain right here in the community. Additional information is available at www.fpua.com.

Kid-Friendly Streaming Platforms

Kid-Friendly Streaming Platforms

With streaming devices seemingly everywhere, it’s easy for your children to turn on the smart TV or pick up a tablet or smartphone and start watching their favorite shows and movies. Indeed, there’s no shortage of streaming content they can enjoy, with studios pouring money into animated series, live-action adventure or “mystery” stories, or educational shows that are both informative and a lot of fun.

But it’s natural for parents to have concerns about their child’s online activity and device use, particularly those of younger kids. And though some parents may enjoy the freedom of apps and streaming platforms that are intuitively easy for just about any youngster to learn and explore, unfettered access to any online-accessible device is always a risk worth further consideration.

Fortunately, many of the apps that deliver quality children’s content also feature age-based content restrictions and other security settings that will give parents peace of mind. And several apps consist exclusively of children’s content, providing even greater comfort. As your family’s online safety is our top concern, your neighbors at FPUAnet Communications have cobbled up a list of some of our favorite kid-friendly streaming apps and platforms.

Our recommended streaming apps feature a robust selection of enriching children’s entertainment and educational content, which can be streamed in pristine, distortion-free quality on FPUAnet Communications’ advanced fiber network. And many also include settings and other protections parents will appreciate. Read on to explore our suggestions!

Four Streaming Platforms Made Specifically For Children and Families

PBS Kids
PBS has been a perennial favorite of parents—and their kids—for decades. With years of children’s content creation expertise under its belt, PBS stands tall on our list. PBS Kids is a streaming platform geared toward children.

It includes some of PBS’ most beloved characters like Arthur Read, the bespectacled aardvark, and namesake of Arthur, whose 25-season run makes it one of the most successful animated kid series in television history. And who can possibly forget Sesame Street’s Elmo, whose endearing kindness has tickled the heartstrings of viewers for decades!

The app is incredibly kid-friendly, from its touchscreen accessibility to its bright, attractive display. And because its content is geared exclusively to younger children, parents can feel confident that PBS Kids is a safe space for their kids to explore, learn, laugh, and be inspired.

Noggin
Next on our list of recommended streaming apps for children is Noggin, an app developed by a venerable name in kids’ entertainment—Nickelodeon. Leaning in big on learning, Noggin is a subscription-based app featuring ad-free content for younger kids, especially preschoolers. Many of Nick Jr.’s most adored series and characters are viewable on Noggin, including Peppa Pig, Blue’s Clues & You, and of course, Dora the Explorer!

We love how the educational content included with Noggin provides opportunities for learning as much as entertainment. And some of the content on Noggin is designed to get your kids off the couch and moving around—even outdoors as they discover more about their world!

HappyKids
With over 60,000 videos to stream, the HappyKids app is another child-friendly and parent-approving app. Exclusively focused on content for children, HappyKids features a diverse array of educational and entertainment series. It’s also free, another boon to parents!

Appropriate for children of just about all ages from toddlers to early teens, parents can also establish content restrictions through several tools. Parental settings include toggling the age range of viewable content and even blocking specific series entirely.

And to inspire extra confidence, HappyKids has been commended with several awards, including a 2022 National Parenting Product Award (NAPPA).

Minno
Another app that parents can feel comfortable letting their kids access and explore is Minno. An app specializing in faith-based, Christian content, its series are mostly geared toward younger kids, so parents need not fear inappropriate language or situations.

The app includes access to over 130 shows, including series developed by esteemed content creators at other major production studios like PBS Kids and Nickelodeon. Parents seeking more Bible-based content may find just what they’re looking for with Minno.

Kid-Friendly Features of the Major Streaming Platforms

Thus far, we’ve discussed streaming platforms designed specifically with children in mind. Indeed, all the content on the four apps highlighted above is exclusively for kids. But the major streaming platforms also have features that make them more accessible to youngsters, while also providing parents with a greater measure of control and oversight.

For example, Netflix lets you establish profiles just for kids, with built-in restrictions and limitations on content based on well-established rating guidelines.

Similarly, Max (formerly HBO Max) makes it easy for parents to limit content to specific age groups consisting of about four years each. In this way, Max’s parentally controlled content settings let the series and movies available on its app “age-up” with your children.

And no list of kid-friendly apps would be complete without Disney+, now celebrating 100 years of renowned family entertainment from family-oriented content powerhouse Disney. Disney+ also features children-specific profiles, which, once set, restrict the content available to them based on their age—and they can’t simply switch out to “the grown-up’s profile” either, thanks to Disney+’s clever safety features!

Our recommended kid-exclusive content apps are a terrific way to introduce your children safely to the world of streaming entertainment and learning. When coupled with parental and content settings on some of the major streaming platforms, parents can feel much more confident about their kids’ streaming activities, all while helping them build healthy screen time habits, too.

For more family-friendly content recommendations and additional information about our high-speed fiber internet, follow FPUAnet Communications’ social pages!

Six Websites to Help You Find a Remote Job

Six Websites to Help You Find a Remote Job

More Americans are working remotely from home than ever before. From the convenience of the at-home office to the lack of a commute (and mind-numbing traffic), to the savings on gasoline, to the ability to more easily look after children (and pets), the benefits of remote work keep adding up!

Vastly improved and faster internet technology—especially fiber internet, like FPUAnet Communications’ advanced fiber network—have made working from home more reliable and efficient. Fiber’s high upload speeds and generous bandwidth make video conference calling far clearer than other forms of internet.

But many people may not know where to start looking for remote jobs they can perform from home with a fast, reliable internet connection.  And some may be asking where a would-be remote worker can even start to look for such jobs.

In this post, we walk you through several of our top recommended websites to help you find a remote job. Many of these sites also include tips on freshening up your resume, interviewing, and even making the most out of remote work. So follow along below as we list our favorite websites for finding remote work!

1. We Work Remotely

Billing itself as the “largest remote work community in the world,” We Work Remotely is a leading website for finding remote jobs. With 4.5 million monthly visits, it’s often the first stop many would-be remote workers take on their job hunt. We also like We Work Remotely for its solid job categorizations and many useful resources and tools.

2. Upwork

Focused on the “gig economy”—short-term work and freelancing jobs—Upwork can be a useful site for finding temporary work quickly without the larger hassles associated with interviewing. Keep in mind, though, that Upwork will take a percentage of any earnings from a gig contracted on its site.

3. Remote OK

One of the best-organized job boards on this list, Remote OK categorizes all manner of remote work jobs. From tech-savvy careers to writing gigs and just about everything in between, Remote OK’s numerous “tags” help you easily sort through the extensive and ever-increasing job postings in many different sectors.

4. Jobspresso

Another solid website for finding remote work opportunities is Jobspresso, particularly because its team researches job listings for legitimacy and accuracy. Jobspresso also lets you post your resume to the site, letting potential employers notice you, even as you can browse its many job listings.

5. Working Nomads

While somewhat more focused on a particular type of remote worker (digital nomads who travel around the world), Working Nomads is worth a look. Those with international experience or interests might find opportunities that don’t appear on similar remote job boards and newsletters with job postings, broadening out the search beyond our own borders.

6. FlexJobs

Our last recommended website, FlexJobs, is one of the biggest names in the jobs posting scene. But please keep in mind that, unlike the other five options recommended above, not every job listed on FlexJobs is remote! Additionally, Flexjobs is not free—it offers monthly and annual fees to use its resources. As you’d likely expect from a jobs website you need to pay to use, they include features that give would-be employees confidence, such as pre-screened listings, regular alerts for jobs that meet your criteria, and detailed search tools for finding the right fit for you.

The six sites above are outstanding places to start your search for the perfect remote work job—or even a remote career! You can also check out other more traditional job posting sites like Indeed and ZipRecruiter. But be sure to checkmark any settings options for Remote Work as you conduct your search on those traditional sites.

Check out FPUAnet Communications’ social pages for more tips on remote work and how our high-speed fiber network can make you more productive from home! 

“Don’t Click That Link!” (10 Signs You’re About to Be Scammed)

“Don’t Click That Link!” (10 Signs You’re About to Be Scammed)

Despite all the benefits that the internet brings to our lives every day, there is also a nefarious side that people need to be aware of and smart about—scamming. Unfortunately, like with just about every other technology, fraudsters persist, always concocting new ways to acquire personal information or access unsuspecting victims’ bank accounts or credit cards.

Seniors are particularly vulnerable to the latest scams, especially because they have spent far less of their lives engaging with the internet than Millennials or Gen Z! And given the kinds of scams out there, seniors are more likely to click on links that seem innocent but that are anything but.

At FPUAnet Communications, we take your online safety and security extremely seriously. But our technicians and online security experts can’t do it all. Nor can they watch out for scams that might hit your email account, social media feed, texts or web browser. You need to be vigilant as well.

Below we discuss ten signs that you are about to be scammed. As you will see, some of these signs are more obvious, while others can be cleverly sneaky about persuading you to “just click right now.” With even a little knowledge and some extra caution, you can avoid most scams, while enjoying FPUAnet Communications’ fast and reliable fiber internet with greater confidence.

What is Phishing?

Before highlighting the most common signs that you’re about to be scammed, let’s briefly discuss the most common schemes plaguing internet users today, especially seniors: phishing. Phishing attempts to “lure” a victim into providing something to a scammer: personal sensitive information like full name, address, or telephone number, or an official identifier like a Social Security Number, or bank account or credit card information, or direct access to a computer or other device.

They come in many forms and some scammers can be quite ingenious about their phishing methods. But there’s almost always something “off” about phishing attempts and scams. Let’s now move on to the top ten signs to be aware of to prevent phishing attacks and other scams.

1. Emails Arrive in Your Inbox at Strange Times

Many email scams originate from outside the United States in different time zones, some between six and twelve time zones away. Receiving emails in the middle of the night is a first sign that something is amiss. Further, if a hacker has taken over the email account of someone you know and sends you an email at an unusual hour (for them), that’s another indication to be suspicious—and extra careful.

2. Email Address Irregularities 

While scammers can easily disguise themselves in the Subject Lines of emails, it’s much more difficult to establish an email address that fits the company, government agency or other entity they are pretending to be. Look for addresses that employ @yahoo.com, @gmail.com, or similar services. No legitimate major company or agency would use such addresses to conduct business. 

3. Grammar and Spelling Mistakes

Scammers are notoriously bad spellers. And their command of the English language is frequently lacking. Astute and vigilant email users should note that misspelled words or blatant grammatical errors are a common sign of a phishing attack and should be ignored.

4. Fishy Attachments and Files

Beware of messages with odd or intentionally vague attachments. Attachments marked “Invoice “or “Shipping Notification” are particularly common—especially if you are not expecting either from a vendor. And the type of file employed in the message is another signal, too, including zip and Microsoft Word document files. Some email programs or services automatically scan such files for viruses, but if you’re at all suspicious, just ignore the message entirely and not let your curiosity get the better of you.

5. Urgent Demands

Another common trick many scammers use to get your attention is to demand action from you, often with an overwhelming sense of urgency. “Time is short!” “Respond immediately!” “Your reward expires in one hour!” These are just examples of demands designed to pique your interest and get you clicking. Don’t fall for them!

6. Requests for Your Personal and/or Financial Information

Any email from any source whatsoever requesting that you enter your personal or financial information should be ignored immediately. Indeed, most companies state outright that they will never ask you to enter such information through an email correspondence. Such a request is one of the biggest indicators of a phishing scam.

7. If It Sounds Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is

Phishing scammers have taken a play out of junk mail schemes dating back decades, promising rewards and riches if you act now. From dangling Amazon gift cards or cash prizes, these fraudsters know how to grab your eyes with such false promises—and hope to snag your bank account information through them.

8. Phony Delivery Notifications

Increasingly common in text messages sent to your smartphone, fake delivery notifications are another scam. The first sign that something is “off” is if you weren’t expecting a delivery in the first place. Even if you are, proceed with caution. For example, before clicking on such a message, try to remember how the online vendors you usually use (e.g., Amazon) typically contact you. It probably isn’t through this type of text message!

9. Surveys About Major Topics of the Day

Watch out for emails asking you to respond to surveys unless you know the source. Common topical surveys relate to COVID-19 vaccines and other public health matters. Again, scammers are trying to get your attention to get you to click. Don’t fall for it over the hot topic of the times!

10. Strange Greetings and/or Tone in Emails

Our last indicator of a scam is less straightforward—especially if some scammers have avoided some of the more common examples above. Watch for overly generic greetings like “Dear Friend.” Or if they use your email address instead of your actual name in the greeting! Also consider if the tone of the email is “off.” If it comes from a familiar email address but doesn’t sound like the person you know, don’t respond. Or perhaps the email is geared toward subjects or purchases that are irrelevant to you. When in doubt, trust your gut.

We hope this guide will help you fish out phishing and other scams, and make you feel more confident when utilizing the internet. And for more valuable tips and advice about staying safe online, be sure to follow FPUAnet Communications’ social pages.

How to Create Healthy Tech Habits This School Year

How to Create Healthy Tech Habits This School Year

With the kids back in school for another year of learning and extracurricular activities, it’s time for parents to set new schedules and routines for managing their family’s work and school obligations. As you’re setting intentions for a new school year, we’re here to help you create healthy tech habits for you and your kids.

Though FPUAnet Communications’ high-speed fiber network delivers the fastest, most reliable internet you and your children can enjoy, we know there is more to life than just online time! To help parents plan and prioritize, we’ve assembled this handy guide to developing healthy tech habits for their kids this school year.

With open communication and a bit of parental enforcement of reasonable limitations on tech use, parents should feel confident that they can build a healthy balance between screen time and other key aspects of their kids’ lives.

Tip 1: Begin With a Two-Way Conversation

The first step you should take before setting up boundaries and promoting healthy tech habits is to have a conversation with your kids. You can discuss your concerns about their screen time and encourage them to engage in other activities, as well.

As part of the conversation, however, do take the time to listen meaningfully to your children’s online interests and usage. After all, there are genuinely beneficial aspects to online activity, from communicating with their friends to learning about new ideas, people, and places, and even acquiring new skills and hobbies.

By approaching the topic as a team, you can work together to maximize their online time. This also helps build trust with your kids that this endeavor is not a punishment; rather it’s about better balancing responsibilities and other interests along with their online usage.

Tip 2: Establish Clear and Consistent Screen Time Limits

As part of that open and honest conversation, work together to establish clear screen time boundaries. Parents may choose to set up a daily schedule consisting of periods when device usage is acceptable, while other times are strictly off limits (except, of course, for necessary tasks like homework or other learning).

Other parents may be more flexible, allowing only a set number of total hours spent online each day or every week. To stay on top of this, apps and certain device settings can be employed to track just how much time your kids spend online.

Please keep in mind, however, that experts say it’s best that any limitations on screen time be clearly established and be consistent throughout the day and week.

Tip 3: Schedule Other Priorities

Around the same time you’ve set up screen time limitations, consider scheduling other activities, as well. At first blush these recommendations may sound too rigid and regimented. Remember, however, in a tech-saturated culture, the goal is to foster a healthy balance of online and device usage with other priorities and responsibilities.

Thus, consider blocking out a few hours each day to homework and reading time. Or schedule at least an hour of time outdoors or in physical activity of almost any kind. Also consider planning regular in-person get-togethers with their friends instead of mostly relying on their devices to socialize.

When coupled with the screen time limitations above, many parents (and kids) find that a natural, healthy rhythm between their online lives and other obligations can emerge.

Tip 4: Consider Turning Off Notifications

Another tip parents can consider is turning off all—or at least most—notifications on your children’s devices. After all, it’s the seemingly constant stream of dings from notifications that draws kids back to their devices to check emails, text messages, social media posts, or video updates, even if you’ve managed to get them momentarily concentrating on their homework or outdoor activities.

You could also establish a timeframe around limiting notifications instead of outright turning them off entirely. For example, blocking out a two-to-three hour time period between afterschool and dinner time without notifications may help naturally reduce screen time—and perhaps even encourage actual face-to-face conversation at the dinner table!

Tip 5: Model Good Online and Screen Time Habits

Our last tip is to remember that your kids are keeping their eyes on you almost as much as you are on them! Thus, it’s important that you model responsible online usage habits yourself.

The more consistently parents model a proper balance between using their devices and other activities, the more likely their kids will do the same.

Given that your child will have to be on their devices a lot more during the school year, these tips should help you better balance their screen time with other aspects of their lives. Just remember the need for open communication, appropriate boundary setting, consistent enforcement of any schedules or limitations, and to model responsible behavior as best you can. And perhaps these tips will help you better balance your own screen time, too! 

For more helpful advice on navigating the online world, follow FPUAnet Communications’ social pages!

Fortnite: What Parents Need to Know

Fortnite: What Parents Need to Know

If you’re a parent and you haven’t been asked by your kids to download Fortnite yet, chances are you will very soon! Fortnite is one of the most popular online video games of all time, and gamers of all ages can’t seem to get enough of it. Its rich replayability, genial graphics, and brilliant blend of savvy strategy and intense action have captivated many millions of people around the world—including very likely, your own children.

But like with any other online activity that kids love, parents might have questions and even concerns about Fortnite and how it’s sweeping up young gamers across continents. At FPUAnet Communications, we take your family’s online safety and security very seriously. And while we love online gaming as much as anyone, we understand why parents are cautious about any popular internet trend their kids love to engage in. 

In this article, we take a deep dive into Fortnite, briefly explaining what the game is about, why it’s become such a global phenomenon (especially for children) and detail some safety and security settings parents may want to employ. Keep reading to learn more about this game—and why your kids are likely to obsess over it!

What is Fortnite?

First released to the public in 2017, Fortnite is the brainchild of Epic Games, a major producer of video games. Within just three months of its release, over 5 million copies of the game were sold, a truly astounding number for a new game franchise. It very quickly morphed into one of the world’s most beloved video games ever developed.

Fortnite offers an intriguing mix of action and adventure, strategy and survival. Players are quite literally dropped onto an island to play with and compete against up to 100 other players online (depending on the version of the game they play), requiring each player to quickly adapt to the new terrain, think through their plans carefully, develop and maintain teams, and ultimately outwit one another on route to victory.

On each island, there is a treasure trove of weapons, resources, and other items for players to scavenge—items critical to success in the game. Like with other strategy games, players explore their island territory, hunting and collecting resources to build up their defenses. They’ll also build bases, defensive towers and other settlements to prevent attacks from world-generated enemies.

Today, Fortnite is not one game; rather, there are multiple versions of the game available. The original version, Fortnite: Save the World, is a “cooperative” (or “co-op”) game, in which players work together to achieve missions and goals—namely defending the island from zombies. Next, Fortnite Battle Royale expanded the game still further, allowing up to 100 players to play in any one game, while simultaneously providing options for solo or two-player games, or in small groups (called squads) of three or four teammates. Battle Royale’s ultimate goal? Be the last player standing!

A third version, Fortnite Creative, is a “sandbox game”, where players can more freely roam and discover the lands they encounter and craft and build on them. Another version, Zero Build, focuses on tactics rather than on building up structures and communities. In this way, players can select the type of game they want to play—whether emphasizing base-building, cooperation, or winner-take-all battling—depending on the version of Fortnite they’re up for playing.

Fortnite’s graphic design is more cartoonish than many other similar games, which simulate more lifelike features. That design decision seemingly “tones down” the intensity of the game, and helps broaden the appeal to younger audiences. But don’t confuse cartoonish with amateur—the graphics and effects are outstanding and a considerable draw for players of all ages.

Why Do Kids Like It?

The cartoon-like graphics are not Fortnite’s only appeal to children, however. The game is incredibly compelling—and much to the chagrin of some parents (or even players), even addicting! Like similar games, building structures, crafting tools and weapons, and defending and protecting yourself and your teammates turns out to be enormously satisfying, as well as challenging. And with seemingly endless varieties of factors and variances, especially on the island terrains the game is played on, Fortnite is eminently replayable.

Apart from its exciting gameplay and visual appeal, the social aspect of the game is another major draw for kids. Children can play Fortnite with another friend, or even more collaboratively with a group of friends. They can also text and voice call each other as they play. Thus, it’s a less isolating experience than many other video games can be.

Potential Parental Concerns about Fortnite

Fortnite has been rated by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board as “T” for Teen. That means it’s deemed suitable for children ages 13 and up. Other online watchdogs and parental advisory groups, such as Common Sense Media, concur with the “T” rating, citing Fortnite’s interactive chat feature and not-insignificant amounts of violence.

The social aspect of the game means that kids can interact with other players, which could raise some parents’ eyebrows in the same way any other online interactive social media app or program can. Fortnite also includes firearms and related gun violence, as well, which some parents may feel uncomfortable about.

Fortnite’s Safety and Security Settings

Given Fortnite’s popularity with kids, it’s natural for parents to want to exercise caution, and the programmers seem to respond to their concerns. For starters, Epic built parental controls and settings right into the game.

Some of these parental controls are both strong and protective, especially for online social interactions some parents may be wary of. For example, one Fortnite setting can be activated requiring a parent to approve any new friend with a special PIN number before your child can play with, chat, and otherwise interact with that person. Other settings limit texting and chatting even further, allowing chatting with pre-approved friends only or completely turning off chat with anyone—including friends.

For parents worried that their kids may be playing Fortnite too much, Epic created a weekly playtime report that parents can receive via email. It details the number of hours your children play Fortnite, so that their other priorities (i.e., homework, exercise, and extracurricular activities) can be balanced. Epic even lets parents filter out inappropriate language by toggling a setting that detects offensive language in text chats and replaces them with heart shapes.

Fortnite’s popularity continues to endure, and parents are likely to face decisions on whether to let their kids play it whether solo or with their friends. We hope parents are now better armed with both basic knowledge about the game and the parental control tools and settings Fortnite offers so that they can make informed choices that are best for their families.

Little-Known Features that Come with Your Netflix Subscription

Little-Known Features that Come with Your Netflix Subscription

From its start as a DVD rental delivery service to its modern-day standing as movie and TV series production powerhouse, Netflix is one of the world’s most iconic entertainment brands.

Its ever-changing library of streaming titles provides countless hours of binge time, as well as award-winning exclusive content. And with fiber internet from FPUAnet Communications, you can enjoy it all without buffering, freezing, or crashing!

But Netflix subscribers have access to other perks and benefits beyond its vast selection of films and shows. Read below to learn some of the other benefits of a Netflix subscription that you can take advantage of today!

Workout and Exercise Routines

Though Netflix is usually associated with lounging around on the couch, there is another benefit to a Netflix subscription that doesn’t get nearly enough attention—its partnership with Nike and its training and workout routines. Yes, before you settle down for the day, you can enjoy a guided workout through the Netflix app!

To provide this benefit, Netflix teamed up with Nike, one of the world’s leading athletics and fitness brands. The Nike Training Club provides a wide array of exercise and workout routines for people of all ages, body types, and levels of fitness and strength.

Whether you’re learning the basics, developing your core, or looking to lose weight, the Nike Training Club videos on Netflix can get you off the couch and keep you moving. The trainers are knowledgeable and engaging, helping to encourage you and motivate you to push yourself further. We especially like that you can sort the routines by the amount of time you have to exercise, whether it’s just a quick 10 minutes or a more complete 30-minute workout.

Best of all, you don’t have to go to a gym or even leave the comfort of your living room to start improving your fitness—with your Netflix subscription, you can get a solid workout routine at home.

But if you do prefer the amenities of your local gym, you can also access the Nike Training Club workout routines and videos on the mobile Netflix app. The extra flexibility of your Netflix app lets you enjoy your routines outdoors, like in a park or at the beach, or even (when you’re ready) at the gym!

Before you begin, just remember to consult your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

Yoga and Stretching

In addition to getting in shape through Netflix’s partnership with Nike for workout routines, a Netflix subscription includes another excellent perk that’s sure to improve your health and well-being—guided yoga routines. Like the workouts, Netflix’s yoga features are provided by Nike Training Club, where experienced yoga instructors carefully guide you through the stretches and poses of this ancient practice.

Netflix currently has multiple Nike Training Club series dedicated to yoga. Two of them are more general yoga pose practices and exercises with different teachers and styles. Additionally, in 2022, a special Vinyasa-inspired yoga series was launched with six episodes devoted to that unique tradition of yoga.

Gaming on Your Mobile Devices

After you’ve exercised and enjoyed a relaxing stretch routine, it’s time to check out another awesome feature many Netflix subscribers don’t even realize they have: Gaming! In addition to having one of the most extensive streaming content libraries anywhere, Netflix also lets you game on its mobile apps for smartphones and tablets. 

And Netflix’s game library is surprisingly large as well. It currently includes more than 55 games in many different genres. For example, you can enjoy relaxing simulation games like Country Friends, where you can create and maintain a farm. Or play Townsmen: A Kingdom Rebuilt, and build an awe-inspiring village around a castle. Or dive into one of many adventure games, including one based on Stranger Things! You can even play a dating simulation game if you’d like!

All you need is your Netflix subscription, an iPhone or Android-based phone, an internet connection, and enough space on your phone to download and install the games, and voila—you can play to your heart’s content.

For more helpful information about how to make the best of FPUAnet Communications’ advanced fiber network, follow our social pages!

Best Games for Bonding With Your Child

Best Games for Bonding With Your Child

The summer television viewing season isn’t what it used to be.

From pediatricians to psychologists, experts agree that spending quality time is among the best “investments” a parent can make for their children. But it’s also perhaps the most difficult to pull off.  Between parents’ work responsibilities and their child’s school, sports, and activities schedules, time for parents to bond with their kids can just slip away.

For the past few generations, one of the most common ways kids spend their free time is by playing video games. And from the Atari of the early 1980’s to the PlayStation 5 of today, they’ve only gotten better. Between their increasingly sophisticated stories to stunning graphics, it can be rather difficult to peel kids away from their screens!

So what if instead of competing with video games for your kids’ attention and time, you joined them instead—as in playing video games with your kids? Well, many parents are doing just that—and even enjoying the games almost as much as their children are!

Below we highlight seven of our favorite video games that you can play with your kids. And with FPUAnet Communications’ high-speed fiber internet, you can enjoy these video games seamlessly and without lag or interruption, whether you play on a console like the PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, or Xbox, or on your PC or tablet.

Read on to learn more about some of the best video games you and your child can play together!

1. Minecraft

First on our list is Minecraft, the enormously popular—and let’s face it, addicting—building game that needs little introduction. Millions of people of all ages cannot get enough of this seemingly simple but enthralling building and crafting game. Its open-world sandbox setting gives children and their parents the opportunity to create and improve entire worlds together, and with deep, intricate, and rich details. Minecraft is available to play on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, and Xbox.

2. Terraria

Comparable to Minecraft in many ways, but perhaps somewhat more goal-and-mission-oriented, the popular Terraria is another vast building, exploration, and crafting game that can be played by multiple people. Like other “sandbox” games, Terraria is open-world, letting players explore more freely than other types of games. No two games are exactly alike, enhancing their replay value, while giving parents plenty of time to master the game alongside their kids as they wind their way through it. Terraria is playable on your PC, Xbox, PlayStation, or Nintendo Switch. 

3. Super Mario Odyssey

Many parents will fondly remember the Super Mario Bros. game series from their own childhoods. And the series has not only stood the test of time but has expanded immensely over the decades. Super Mario Odyssey continues Mario’s adventures through many perils on a magical airship called the Odyssey. This time, Mario makes use of a sentient hat named “Cappy.” Super Mario Odyssey won Best Family Game in 2017 by The Game Awards, one of the industry’s most prestigious honors. The game is available on Nintendo Switch and is perfect for a parent to play with their children.

4. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

If you and your kid can’t get enough of the Mario universe, try out another challenge with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe! After all, is there a better way for you to gleefully compete against your child than in a classic car race? In Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, you’ll race go-karts across a wide variety of locations and terrains. But be warned: the game is so fun to both kids and their parents, many find it hard to put down the controllers! Mario Kart 8 Deluxe can be played on Nintendo Switch and has an online play option as well.

5. Rocket League

When you’re ready for a stouter automobile challenge, check out Rocket League, an exceptionally popular game over the past few years. Rocket League is an eccentric but surprisingly perfect mix of sports, specifically soccer and car racing. One of the more competitive games on this list, Rocket League is free to play on just about every major platform, including consoles and PCs (and even Macs).

6. Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Another hugely popular game many parents have heard about is Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Utilizing animals to build a human-like settlement and society, you and your child can enjoy an easy-going and pleasant game that helps develop decision-making, organizational, and social skills. And unlike other games on this list, it’s actually quite relaxing! Indeed, playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a nice way to unwind with your kids after a long day. The fifth entry in the Animal Crossing series, New Horizons, won The Game Award’s 2020 Best Family Game award and is available on Nintendo Switch.

7. LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

Our last game recommendation combines two legendary names in family entertainment: LEGO and Star Wars. LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is part of a large series of LEGO-themed video games based on movies that also include the Harry Potter series. The Skywalker Saga is an especially solid choice for parents to play with their kids because of how Star Wars bridges the generations—and lets grown-ups share the sweeping epic and beloved characters of Star Wars in an interactive way. This edition follows the entire 9-film series and is playable on Nintendo, PlayStation, Xbox, and PCs.

Spending quality time with their children is perhaps the most invaluable goal a parent can achieve. We hope our list of seven great games—and our super-fast internet service to power them—will help make it just a bit easier!

To learn more ways that online entertainment can bring families together, follow FPUAnet Communications’ social pages for more recommendations!

The Summer Slowdown: Preparing Your Home Internet for Increased Demand

The Summer Slowdown: Preparing Your Home Internet for Increased Demand

The summer television viewing season isn’t what it used to be.

Once known for endless reruns and launches of shows that studios deemed less likely to be successful, the world of streaming entertainment and the production houses it created are churning out phenomenal content you’ve just got to see.

The trouble is that lots of other people want to watch it too! And quite often, they’re streaming at the same time as you. And with kids out of school for the summer and many people heading indoors to escape the heat, internet usage increases during the dog days of summer. Unfortunately, along with the increased demand, streaming picture quality and overall reliability often decline, frequently turning what should be a relaxing evening into a frustrating experience.

And with new premieres coming this summer, like HBO Max’s House of the Dragon (the prequel to Game of Thrones), you can be sure that your neighbors (and maybe you too!) will be streaming away the second these shows hit screens.

So what can you do to prepare for all of this increased demand? Or are you doomed to suffer repeated buffering, pixelation, and loading errors during the summer slowdown?

Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to improve your internet connection and performance, even during the summer’s high demand. And your friends at FPUAnet Communications are standing by to help you learn more about high-speed fiber internet and suggest adjustments inside your home to improve your Wi-Fi’s range and overall streaming experience.

Below we suggest five tips to help you beat the summer slowdown so you and your family can enjoy a better streaming experience.

Tip #1: Upgrade to Fiber Internet

The single best thing you can do to improve your internet speed and connection is to upgrade to fiber internet. A technological wonder, fiber internet utilizes fiber-optic cables composed of ultra-thin, tiny strands of glass and other materials that transmit internet data near the speed of light.

As a result, fiber internet’s speeds exceed cable internet, which uses older technology and copper-based materials that cannot compete with fiber’s highest speeds.

Getting a dedicated fiber internet line through FPUAnet Communications directly to your home means you no longer have to share bandwidth with your neighbors.

Tip #2: Select the Bandwidth to Meet Your Family’s Needs

Once you’ve upgraded to fiber, talk to the customer support specialists at FPUAnet Communications about which level of broadband you need.

This will vary from household to household, and FPUAnet Communications’ experts can help you determine what will provide the proper amount of bandwidth. If you have multiple people in your home, be sure to choose a plan that offers enough bandwidth for the whole family to use it simultaneously. This tip will help keep the high-speed internet flowing into your home and devices and help keep the peace in your family!

Tip #3: Consider Whole-Home Coverage

Now that you have a perfect fiber internet plan for your needs, you should consider whole-home Wi-Fi coverage. You can use Wi-Fi extenders and other technology to “extend” the Wi-Fi throughout your house—even in harder-to-reach rooms upstairs or even on your back porch.

With the right setup, you may even get a strong enough Wi-Fi signal in your backyard for outdoor movie nights! Of course, the experts at FPUAnet Communications can help you set up whole-home coverage, too, so be sure to reach out to our customer service specialists.

Tip #4: Optimize the Position of Your Wi-Fi Router

After you’ve set up your fiber internet service, bandwidth plan, and whole-home coverage, make the most of FPUAnet Communications’ high-speed fiber internet by optimizing the location of your Wi-Fi router in your home.

Remember that obstructions like too many walls and windows can interfere with and weaken the Wi-Fi signal and reduce streaming quality as it disperses through your home.

The simplest way to assess your Wi-Fi router’s placement is to run speed tests throughout your home (where your devices are most frequently used to stream). Speed tests let you experiment with your Wi-Fi router’s position—and making even minor adjustments, like elevating the router or separating it away from other electronic devices, can make a significant difference in streaming performance. And, of course, FPUAnet Communications’ friendly technicians are always around to help you, so feel free to contact us!

Tip #5: Utilize Parental Controls

Finally, don’t forget about parental controls! This is much more than limiting or even policing content your kids may use. Parental controls let you prevent your children from using online devices during certain times of day or night, which both reduces their screen time (something all parents aim to do) and increase the amount of bandwidth for you to enjoy!

Parental controls may be included in your service plan or as an add-on option for you as a managed Wi-Fi perk, so check out your package’s features or reach out to the customer service specialists at FPUAnet Communications to see what may be available.

By implementing these tips, you can significantly improve the picture quality and reliability of your streaming experience, even with the increased internet demand and higher usage of the summer. So sit back, relax, and enjoy a summer of streaming!
And for more helpful tips on improving your internet experience, follow FPUAnet Communications’ social pages!