Boston Marathon Mobile Disruption Due To High Demand, Not Police

Boston calls were blocked by high demand – not by any deliberate network shutdown

Mobile phone networks in Boston experienced disruption following explosions during the Boston Marathon yesterday, although it is believed that this was due to high demand from users rather than any shutdown by officials.

It had been suggested that the police shut down mobile services in case they were being used to detonate bombs – two of which had gone off at the finish line of the race. The explosions have killed three people and left at least 140 people injured.

The first explosion occurred at around 14:50 local time, about two hours after the winners had crossed the line, followed by a second blast shortly after.

Boston Marathon mobile coverage

Boston Marathon © Aaron Tang

Many people keen to get in contact with friends and family at the marathon were  unable to get through, but US network operators have said that this is due to the number of calls exceeding the capacity of their networks.

Sprint told the Boston Globe newspaper that thousands of calls had been made in the area affected by the explosions, stating that there was no way that its network could handle that kind of traffic.

Verizon said that it was enhancing capacity in the Copley Square area of the city, but advised customers to use text or email services to free up voice capacity for public safety officials.

Those sentiments were echoed by AT&T, which urged its users to keep non-emergency calls to a minimum. It recommended using texts and said that the temporary Wi-Fi network it set up for the marathon, one of the largest annual sporting events in the US, would remain switched on for an extended period.

Google has set up a person finder for those concerned about the safety of friends or family. Users can log into a dedicated page to share or find out information about those affected by the tragedy.

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