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Yesterday, when I made my daily call to my mom (momma's boy for life), I could barely hear her.  No stranger to spotty cell service, I chalked it up to a random technical glitch.  Later, when I called her back - I was still struggling to make out what she was saying. In fact, I had trouble with most of my calls yesterday in areas where I traditionally have great service.  So, what gives?  Is it time to call my mobile provider?  Did I forget to pay a bill?

As it turns out, I'm not alone.  If you are one of the folks frustrated with your phone's inability to connect you to the larger world, you can blame Hurricane Ida.  According to the eggheads at ARS Technica, both AT&T and T-Mobile are reporting that their mobile networks are barely operating at 60% across the entire state of Louisiana.

The problem is major damage caused by the Bayou State's latest nightmare from Mother Nature: Hurricane Ida.  Crucial key-points in the network were damaged or destroyed by the high winds, flooding, and more during the storms violent arrival to Louisiana.  While some network facilities were brought back online, several more are inaccessible because of high water, storm debris, or both.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Backup generators are being used to power these facilities in areas where there is no power, and may not be for weeks.  Unfortunately, this operation requires more generators than these mobile carriers accounted for.  Both AT&T and T-Mobile are working around the clock to get more generators in places where they need them.  Until that happens, Louisiana will be hobbled in terms of crucial cellular service vital to recovery efforts.

Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images

What kind of issue will this cause mobile customers?  According to the statement from T-Mobile's representative:

Some customers in these areas may experience intermittent impacts to voice, data and text service. The situation is still very fluid as first responders and utilities assess the damage caused by the storm

That being said, not everyone in the state is at a mobile disadvantage.  Verizon Wireless posted an update of the situation in South Louisiana on their official website.  It seems that they have weathered the storm better than their competitors.  According to their statement:

In downtown New Orleans and Baton Rouge, our network operations have withstood the storm’s ferocity. We have scattered cell sites throughout those main metro areas, with the majority of Verizon customers experiencing minimal service interruptions due to overlapping coverage (service from nearby cell sites.)

Service will be restored to the entire state very soon, but the race is on.  With so many rescue and recovery groups relying on mobile networks to coordinate the effort, every second counts.

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