The Best Streaming Services For Kids You’ll Want for Holiday Break

Winter break and the best streaming services for kids go hand in hand. This year parents everywhere will find themselves challenged balancing kids on school break while you’re working from home. And let’s be real, sometimes you or your kids are going to need some screen time and a break. Are your kids bored stuck inside with nothing to do? Do you need to hop on a video conference without interruption? If you’re like the majority of families, the answer is yes. And that’s ok! A bit of screen time here and there doesn’t have to be a bad thing. With family-friendly streaming platforms, you can rest assured that your kids are watching videos safe for their eyes—even without your constant oversight! 

Plan for those much-needed moments of peace, quiet, and screen time by downloading one of the best streaming services for kids today.

Source: RMPBS

PBS KIDS

Starting Cost: Free 

Why You’ll Love It:

With the award-winning, educational PBS KIDS, you don’t have to feel guilty about letting your kids indulge in some screen-time this holiday break. PBS has brought educational and high-quality content to kids across the country for decades, and PBS Kids is no different. It is the ​ #1 children’s educational media brand in the US, after all. 

Little ones love how easy it is to watch live TV in the app or play their favorite shows on-demand, including Curious George, Daniel Tiger, and Sesame Street. And parents love how the “Weekly Pick” feature suggests a fresh set of videos geared toward keeping young brains “edutained” and mentally engaged even while out of school. Best of all, this app has a free version. But if you want to access the library of shows on-demand with no ads and the ability to download shows, it’s $4.99/month.  

Source: Screenshot of Disney Plus via CNET

Disney+

Starting Cost: $7.99/month 

Why You’ll Love It: 

Disney+ is home to Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and more. From the timeless classics like Beauty and the Beast or Cinderella that you grew up watching to new exciting series and movies such as Vamparina and High School Musical The Series, there is something for everyone on this streaming service. Plus, it’s ad-free! 

The Disney+ is available on mobile devices, web browsers, game consoles, set-top boxes, and smart TVs. For a complete list of supported devices, click here. It’s easy for kids to navigate through with thumbnails of their favorite characters. Even your littlest streamer can navigate their interface, giving you more time for whatever task you have at hand! 

Netflix Kids 

Starting Cost: $8.99/month 

Why You’ll Love It: 

Netflix has something to stream for people of all ages. But did you know Netflix offers an entire library for kids called Netflix Kids? It’s curated for the younger ones in your life and only has kid-appropriate content. In addition, many Netflix originals are exclusive to the platform, such as the popular show Ask the Storybots and the original movie Vivo. The popular streaming service also offers parental controls to keep your kids safe. You can create kid’s profiles, set the maturity level, and block specific titles. You can even create a pin to block content. 

KiDoodle TV

Starting Price: Free

Why You’ll Love It:

If you’re worried about content or safety streaming, this next one is for you. This streaming platform calls itself “The Safe Streaming Platform for Kids.” They are committed to ensuring the viewing experience is safe and age-appropriate. Kidoodle TV is a certified kidSafe Seal Program and has even received the Mom’s Choice Award. They’ve earned those titles by handpicking the very best in educational, entertaining, and inspiring stories. Seriously, they watch EVERY episode. Parents can also block shows if they don’t want their child to watch it and many other parental controls such as screen time limits, bedtime curfews, and even a breakdown of viewing habits are available in the control center, the “parents room’”.

Source: YouTube

YouTube Kids

Starting Cost: Free 

Why You’ll Love It: 

Youtube Kids is a version of YouTube geared towards kids pre-school aged – 12 years old. You can download it via an app or stream it on their website. The video giants created YouTube Kids “to give kids a more contained environment that makes it simpler and more fun for them to explore on their own, and easier for parents and caregivers to guide their journey as they discover new and exciting interests along the way.” 

Each kid can have an individual user profile, allowing them to log in and watch age-appropriate content geared towards their interests. It’s important to note, while it is safer than YouTube it does have a mix of TV shows, music videos, and user-generated content. The algorithms for screening content help make sure content is ok for kids. Screening has gotten better but every once in a while something can slip through that isn’t for young eyes. Something to be aware of for sure! If you are worried about screen time, you’ll love YouTube Kids timer so that you can limit screen time in just a few clicks! 

Amazon Kids+ 

Starting Cost: starting at $2.99/month 

While You’ll Love it:

Can’t decide if you want your kids to have access to Disney, PBS Kids, Sesame Street, Nickelodeon? With Amazon Kids+, you don’t have to decide. You can have it all! Amazon Kids+ includes unlimited access to books, videos, apps, audiobooks, and even educational material. 

The content is grouped into age-appropriate categories 3-5 years, 6-8 years, and 9-12 years old. Parental controls make it easy to set a certain age range, allow only parent-approved purchases, and lock games and videos until kids reach educational goals. Of course, your kids will love the easy access to popular Amazon originals, such as If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, Tumble Leaf, and Wishenpoof!. 

Source: Noggin

Noggin 

Starting Cost: $7.99/month 

While You’ll Love it:

Created by Nick Jr., Noggin features preschool learning games, full episodes, books, and activities led by kids’ favorite characters like the Paw Patrol and Peppa Pig. 

Noggin offers a plethora of interactive games, popular shows, and videos that promote learning, covering various subjects such as numbers, letters, art, and social skills. Every subscription includes access to 1,000+ ad-free episodes of early childhood favorites, learning videos, and new content weekly. 

Source: Hulu 

Hulu 

Starting Cost: $6.99/Month 

While You’ll Love it:

Of all the streaming services, Hulu offers the largest selection of kids’ networks available. On the platform, you’ll find Boomerang, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., and Universal Kids. 

Hulu also offers an option to watch these popular kid’s networks live with Hulu Premium. Unfortunately, the premium cost is the highest of all services we covered today, starting at 64.99 per month. Ouch! 

That’s a Wrap! The Best Streaming Services for Kids 

There you have it, the best streaming services for kids. Streaming will allow your kids to stay entertained and allow you a break. Just make sure your internet can meet the streaming and connectivity demands while everyone is home. It’s no secret that screen time can help you keep the peace on long winter days—but that peace will be gone faster than you can say “Bah-humbug” if a game or video stops to buffer! Plus, with everyone home, streaming, gaming, and working your bandwidth could be strained. 

Save yourself that headache and call Race today to ensure that you have the best home internet service that will work when you need it most! So contact our specialists at 877-722-3833 or submit an inquiry, and we will help you pick the right service for you. 

Editor’s Note – This article was originally published on 11/29/19 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 

What is Fiber Internet? 

What is Fiber Internet? Is it really that much better than DSL, Cable, or Satellite internet services? Fiber Internet is growing in popularity, and the technology has become the gold standard for fast, reliable, and high-quality internet. In this article, we explore how fiber internet works, its availability, benefits, and more. If you have found yourself asking, “What is Fiber Internet” you’re in the right place. Let’s go! 

What Is Fiber Internet? 

Fiber internet uses cutting-edge light technology to deliver data. Fiber optic cables are used to send information through bursts of light. The light travels much like electricity would through a copper wire, but much faster closer to the speed of light! This type of internet reaches speeds we haven’t been able to achieve with other forms of internet, it is also more reliable. 

what is fiber internet - fiber optic cables

Fiber Optic Cables 

Fiber optic cables set this type of internet apart. Cable internet uses copper wires, but fiber internet uses cables that consist of tiny strands of glass. The strands send data through pulses of light. Fiber cables send data quickly at about 70% of the speed of light. They can also send more data at once than cable, DSL, or Satellite internet. 

Is it available everywhere? 

Fiber is a newer internet technology and is currently not available everywhere. According to the FCC, about 39% of the US has access to fiber internet. That number is going up, but it’s a slow process to bring fiber internet to a city. In order to do so, many steps need to take place, including extensive research, planning, and construction. 

At Race, we understand the importance of bringing Fiber to communities. That is why we are committed to bringing high-quality, affordable internet infrastructure to communities across the state of California. Learn more about our areas of coverage here

what is fiber internet

What are the Benefits?

Greater speeds

Fiber optic cables can allow data to travel at a much higher speed than cable, DSL, or satellite internet. Fiber can reach speeds up to 2,000 Mbps. These speeds are much faster than your average cable internet. A faster connection allows for a better experience, whether you are on an important video meeting or streaming your favorite movie in 4K, higher speeds will create a smooth experience without any troublesome buffering. 

Higher bandwidth 

In today’s world, we are constantly connected. The average American has more than ten connected devices (think of how many phones, computers, TVs are connected in your house). Our super-connected life demands higher bandwidth to handle these devices. Fiber internet can meet these needs and provides up to 1,000 times as much bandwidth as cable internet. 

More Reliable 

Fiber internet is not affected by the weather. Fiber is water-resistant, and temperatures do not affect its performance. It is also less susceptible to power outages or electromagnetic interference because it uses pulses of light instead of electricity to transfer data, unlike cable.

Do I need fiber internet? 

The answer to this question depends on your needs. If you require higher speeds, more bandwidth, and better reliability, then Fiber Internet may be an excellent option for you. However, if you aren’t sure we recommend talking to your internet provider to determine the best option. There are many variables and individual needs vary. If you’re ready to learn more about our internet services, contact our specialists at 877-722-3833 or send us an inquiry. Our team will help you pick the right service for you.  

To learn more about Fiber Vs. Cable Internet read our blog, Fiber or Cable Internet  – Which is Best for You? 

What is Fiber Internet: Key Takeaways 

In summary, fiber internet is an excellent option for today’s homes and businesses alike. Let’s review the key takeaways from this article below: 

  • Fiber internet uses fiber optic cables made of glass strands that send data through light. 
  • Fiber Internet has soaring speeds, and reliable fiber internet can meet modern demands. 
  • Fiber is not available everywhere yet, so check with your local provider to see if it is an option for you. 

If you are interested in learning more, check out our services or contact our specialists at 877-722-3833 to see what we offer in your area! 

5 Simple Steps to Take When Choosing a Home Internet Provider in Your Area

Finding a home internet provider in your area can be an overwhelming experience, but it doesn’t need to be. When choosing a provider, you need to look beyond pricing and speeds—check into customer service, ratings, and service areas. Depending on your location, you will likely have 2-3 home internet providers to choose from. Follow the steps below, and you will be well on your way to finding a great internet provider in your area! 

1. Understand What Types of Internet There Are 

There are many different types of internet you can choose from. When choosing an internet provider, you need to have an idea of what services you want. This will allow you to eliminate any providers that cannot meet your needs. 

Tip: The two most common types of internet are fiber and cable. If you want to learn more about these types, check out our blog Fiber vs. Cable Internet, Which is Best For You? 

choosing home internet provider

2. Figure Out What Speeds You Need 

Internet speed demands will vary depending on how you use the internet. For example, if you use your internet solely to check your email or casually read articles, you may not need the fastest internet a provider offers.  

On the contrary, activities that require more bandwidth like gaming or video conferencing benefit from higher speeds. Service with more gigabits or fiber internet would allow you to do these activities. You’ll also require a faster connection if you have multiple devices that share a network and bandwidth. In this case, fiber internet would make a great option. 

Below is a quick and handy guide for what speeds might work for your needs. 

choosing home internet provider

4. Find Home Internet Providers in Your Area 

Once you know what type of internet you are looking for, you can research what companies provide it. Below is a list of considerations to make when choosing your home internet provider. 

Compare Plans 

First, look for plans that include the type of internet you want and can handle the speeds your home demands. If you have cable tv or need a phone line see if you can bundle your services to create a package that works for you and saves money. 

Additional Costs and Hidden Fees 

Check to see if there are any additional costs like a monthly router rental or an installation fee. Ask the home internet provider what additional fees you might incur and any overage charges if you hit a certain amount of data. The more you understand, the fewer surprises you will find on your bill! 

Data Caps 

Many providers have data caps. A data cap limits the amount of internet you can use. Once you hit your data cap, providers either slow down your service, which makes for a frustrating internet experience or charge you for overages. When choosing a home internet provider, ask if there are any data caps and what happens if you exceed them to understand exactly what you are getting. At Race, our plans are truly unlimited. Both our Gigify Me and Basic Broadband+ include unlimited data so that you can enjoy a fast internet experience with no surprise fees!

choosing home internet provider

4. Look for Exceptional Customer Service 

Pay close attention to how a potential provider treats you. The customer should always be #1. Good customer service means building relationships with customers and the community. Another sign a home internet provider gives excellent customer service is if they are helpful. Below are positive signs a company is providing great customer service. 

Self-Service Resources

Check to see if they have resources for self-service, such as F.A.Q pages and blogs. These resources allow you to educate yourself and even troubleshoot issues if they arise. 

Customer Support 

Ask what response times are if issues occur. Check to see if support is available in various ways such as phone, chat, email, or on-site. 

Read Reviews 

All companies will tell you they are the best. Instead of taking their work, dig deeper and find out what other customers have experienced. If you see mostly positive reviews, this is an indicator that the service provider will excel at customer satisfaction. 

choosing home internet provider

5. Are they local or involved in the community?

Local service is right in your community and ready to help when you need it. Often, larger nationwide companies can’t get a technician out quickly, and if a problem arises, you might be out of the internet for days. In addition, to support local home internet providers invest in their communities. At RACE, we’re connected to our communities and give back through local events, donations and even serve on local chamber committees. 

Choosing A Home Internet Provider Summary 

Now that you have read our guide, it’s time to apply the findings! If you do your research and understand your options, you’ll be rewarded when choosing an internet provider with high-speed quality internet!  

  • Understand what type of internet and speeds you need 
  • Check for hidden fees or data caps 
  • Research the home internet provider, read reviews, and check out what resources they offer to clients. 

Are you looking for a new Internet provider? If you are interested in learning more about our internet services, contact our specialists at 877-722-3833 or send us an inquiry, and we will help you pick the right service for you. 

How the CASF Is Bridging the Digital Divide

Since 2008 the California Public Utilities Commission has

helped bridged the digital divide through the use of the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF). This fund has helped bring broadband to underserved and unserved communities throughout the state of California. Since its inception, the program has funded a variety of broadband projects, including several fiber-based, gigabit projects like Gigafy Phelan. These projects aim to close the digital divide, and companies throughout the state continue to apply for further funding. In this article, we’ll explore exactly what the CASF funds are, a brief history of the program, the types of grants available, and how Race uses them to bring high-speed quality internet to communities.

What is the California Advanced Services Fund? 

The California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) provides funding for the deployment of broadband infrastructure to areas of the state that are unserved or underserved. CASF aims to close the digital divide bringing broadband to 98% of households in each consortia region by December 31, 2022. And they are well on the way to achieving that goal. As of December 31, 2018, 97.1 percent of California households are in census blocks with access to broadband services reaching speeds of 6Mbps down and 1Mbs up or greater. 

Unserved areas are eligible for up to a 70% CASF matching grant. These grants are used for areas without high-speed internet access and often prioritize areas with rugged terrain, making infrastructure development costs too high for companies and investors to fund alone. 

Underserved areas are eligible for 60% CASF matching grants. These areas typically have broadband or internet services but at very slow speeds and do not perform well. The funds allow internet providers to increase speeds to at least 6 Megabits per second download and 1.5mbps upload. 

CASF Map

Above is a map of the consortia regions of the State of California. Source: 2020 Annual CASF Report

CASF: A Brief History 

In December of 2007, the Commission authorized the CASF. The CASF provided grants to telecom corporations to bridge the digital divide and bring high-speed ethernet to California’s unserved and underserved communities. Since then, the program has helped fund over 798 projects and awarded funds totaling over 300 million dollars. 

How Are the Grants Funded?

The CASF initially started as a 23 cents tax collected on phone bills. Currently, CSAF grants are funded by a surcharge rate from revenues collected by telecommunications carriers and remitted to the state.

Types of Grants Available 

Infrastructure, Loan, and Line-Extension Grant

Provides broadband access to households that are within the last miles of existing infrastructure. This includes the line extension program.

Rural and Regional Urban Consortia Grant 

The Rural and Regional Urban Consortia Grant funds the cost of broadband deployment activities. However, the grant doesn’t support any capital costs of the facilities which the Commission determines. 

Tribal Assistance Program

Provides technical assistance in developing market studies, feasibility studies, and business plans which support tribal communities to improve communications. 

How Do You Get a CASF Grant? 

Telecommunication companies have to compete for these grants, and often the way to earn them is through finding the most cost-effective solution to bringing services. To maximize the grant, Race utilizes current and existing utilities and utility easements. This reduces the cost and allows us to create a more extensive infrastructure. For example, if the utilities are all above ground near your home, Race will utilize that existing infrastructure instead of trenching underground utilities to your home. On the other hand, if there are no existing utilities, building above-ground infrastructures is often most cost-effective.

Race Communications - CASF

How does Race Communications use CASF? 

Race Communications has received California grants to cover up to 60 percent of construction costs, including the labor, equipment, and materials required to bring fiber or cable internet to a region. The percent of funding is based on the needs of the area. This funding does not include operational costs (the expenses of day-to-day business).

CASF Key Takeaways: 

  • CASF grants were created to bring broadband internet to both unserved and underserved communities with the goal of 98% of households in each consortia region by 2022. 
  • Race Communications has received CASF grants which cover up to 60% of construction costs and utilize existing utilities to lower infrastructure costs. 
  • Grants are funded by a surcharge rate from revenues that are collected by telecommunications carriers and paid by the end-users

8 Elements that Make the Best Internet for Gaming 

With more than 2.5 billion video gamers around the world, it’s no surprise that we are often asked, “what should I look for to find the best internet for gaming?” The answer to that question is complicated, so today, we’re walking you through eight elements that create the best internet for gaming. These suggestions will help you narrow down providers and find a service that fits your needs. By the end of this article, you’ll be ready to find internet solutions that allow you to play on– and smoothly!

1. High-Speed Connections

Slow internet makes for a terrible gaming experience and is definitely not the best internet for gaming. If speeds are slow, you’ll be met with freezing and lagging, which will ruin your game. To improve your gaming experience, you need to have high-speed internet. Ideally, 35 Mbps or higher to help you avoid lag time and latency issues. This will also allow you to communicate in real-time with your friends while gaming. 

2. Check into Latency

You want the best internet for gaming, and latency plays a huge role in this!  Latency is the average time it takes your gaming device to send the data to the game server and then send it back to you. Latency is measured in milliseconds and pings. Pings are how fast you get messages from other players or your gaming server after making your move. The lower your latency, the better. Lower latency allows for smoother gameplay. 20ms – 40 ms is optimal, but anything under 75- 100 ms is acceptable for gaming. You’ll achieve these speeds by investing in high-speed internet combats latency by enabling data to be sent and received quickly. 

3. Low Lag Time 

Lag time is the time difference between your gaming server sending information and your screen displaying it. Essentially, it’s how long it takes to see the commands you input into your controller shown in action on the screen. For optimal gaming, lag time should be to be less than 15ms. High-speed internet plays a role in lag time, but you also need to play on a monitor or TV with a high refresh rate (sometimes referred to as game mode). A screen designed for gaming will maximize your experience by reducing lag time. 

5. Reliability Reins 

When you’re gaming, you want internet that won’t quit! Fiber optic internet is a great option when it comes to reliability. Fiber is composed of tiny glass strands that send data through light. Because of this, it’s less susceptible to power outages and weather extremes that are known to cause loss of connectivity in other types of internet. 

6. Avoid Data Caps

Gaming requires a lot of data. You’re constantly sending and receiving information, and it adds up quickly.  Some internet providers place limits on the amount of data that you can use in a given month. How a provider caps your data can vary, some providers slow down your speeds while others charge you data overages. This isn’t ideal for a gamer! Instead of worrying about data caps, choose an internet provider with unlimited data. 

7. Bandwidth Is Critical 

Bandwidth is the maximum amount of data your internet can handle. When you are gaming, high amounts of data are sent over your internet connection. Due to the volume, there’s a demand for plenty of bandwidth to keep up. 

In addition, remember that bandwidth is affected by ALL devices in your home. For example, if you’re gaming and someone else is streaming a movie in the next room over, it can slow down your connection causing a less than stellar gaming session. To combat this, look into fiber internet. Fiber is better suited to handle the demands of a connected home.

8. Hardwired Connections Improve the Experience 

The type of internet and speed will only get you so far searching for the best internet for gaming. You’ll also need to consider how you are plugging into your internet connection. Wifi is highly convenient, but internet speeds are not typically as fast as a hardwired connection. In addition, a lot can affect your wireless connection, such as distance from the router or how many devices are connected to wifi. Connecting your gaming device straight to a dedicated ethernet port can help you maintain fast speeds and eliminate any wifi bandwidth issues. 

Conclusion! Play On and Find the Best Internet for Gaming! 

Now you understand what elements you’ll need to find the best internet for gaming. Take these eight considerations with you on your search for internet providers, and you’ll be well on your way to finding the best services for you. And fewer internet issues = more time for gaming, so take the time to find a provider that works well for you and your lifestyle. Are you looking for high-speed, reliable internet for gamers, contact our specialists at 877-722-3833 or submit an inquiry and we will help you pick the right service for you.