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Cell tower hit by storm

Trouble with cell phone signal last week? Found the problem...

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When storms featuring 70-90 m.p.h. winds hit Wright County on Monday, May 4, many U.S. Cellular cell phone customers quickly noticed a difference with their signal strength and data speed.

Many began to experience frequent dropped calls and had problems when using their mobile internet service.

With clear skies one day later, many customers were likely expecting service to return back to normal.

What most customers did not know is that the tower was directly in the storm’s path that left behind a lot of damage in the area of Morris Road in Mountain Grove.

The tower’s cables broke apart from its top and appeared in a mangled mess at the site located off a pathway to the site.

In spite of its extreme damage, customers were amazingly still able to get some sort of a signal due to the efforts of the U.S. Cellular Network Operations Team.

Julie Hauser, public relations counsel for U.S. Cellular, said the team “acted swiftly to help minimize the service impact to our customers and to keep them connected.”

What was left of the cell phone tower was deemed unusable by the team and engineers removed it from the site on Tuesday, May 5.

“Due to how our towers are designed, the partial collapse of the tower was limited to a small part of the footprint at the site,” Hauser noted.

“Our engineers have been able to continue to provide service in the area through adjacent site coverage and overlapping signals. Our teams are deploying a temporary mobile tower solution that should be in place at the site of the impacted tower in the next few days. We also have deployed a Cell on Light Truck (COLT) to another nearby site to further boost services in the area as part of our interim solution.”

Hauser said there are plans to erect a new, permanent cellular tower in place of the old tower at the top of the hill on Morris Rd. over the next couple of months.

No start date for construction was made available as of press time.

Meanwhile, current U.S. Cellar customers have noticed their signal strength and online accessibility get better every day since the storm.

“We appreciate our customers’ patience and ongoing support as we work to fully restore service to the area,” Hauser said.

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