A cut cable has been identified as the cause of a widespread mobile and landline phone service outage that left residents of Eastern Canada scrambling to connect for much of the day Friday.

The major outage began mid-morning and impacted the cell service, TV, Internet and landline offerings of Bell, Telus, Eastlink and Kudo. Rogers service was unaffected.

By late afternoon a service alert on the Telus website indicated crews had identified the problem and were working to repair a cut line in Drummondville, Quebec that affected approximately 885 LTE cell sites throughout New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.

“It’s unnerving,” said a tourist in Truro Nova Scotia who stopped at a Bell store when he was unable to access the Internet on his phone to make reservations for the evening. “I feel totally cut off. I can’t even call my kids to let them know where we are.”

In a statement, Bell said the Internet, wireless, some TV and landline phone services were impacted. Wireless 911 service was operational but landline 911 service was intermittent.

Halifax International Airport indicated the outage was leading to the delay of some flights and Nova Scotia’s Emergency Health Services (EHS) tweeted they were experiencing a “province-wide communications outage” and asked their on-duty crews to return to their stations and monitor their tablets for calls. 

By Friday afternoon problems with debit and interact services created long lineups in some stores and forced others to shut altogether.

 Steve Proctor, ITWC’s VP of Communication, was in Nova Scotia Friday dealing with a family health emergency.

“It’s a very uncomfortable feeling knowing that if you need 911 services, there’s no guarantee you are going to get through,” he said.

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