Cellular Networks Were Flooded, Not Shut Down, After Boston Marathon Attack


Credit: JonJon2k8/flickr

Yesterday, the Associated Press reported that an unnamed "law enforcement official," citing an intelligence briefing, said that cell phone service had been deliberately switched off in Boston to prevent another bomb being detonated by a cell phone. However, providers have denied that cellular networks were deliberately shut down. From ArsTechnica

There was confusion this afternoon when the Associated Press reported that cell service in the city would be intentionally shut off as police looked to prevent any possible cellular activation of another explosive. However, the news organization basically retracted its original story and found no such shutdown was ordered. The carriers said heavy usage caused connection delays—but service remained available in the city throughout the day.

"Verizon Wireless has not been asked by any government agency to turn down its wireless service. Any reports to that effect are inaccurate," Verizon spokesman Tom Pica told the IDG News Service in an e-mail.

The AP's initial report came from an anonymous law enforcement official, citing an intelligence briefing that supposedly outlined the service shutdown. The FCC later told ABC News it was not aware of any cellular shutdowns, and the news outlet confirmed the same with Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon. (T-Mobile had a similar message for VentureBeat.)

No one has claimed responsibility for yesterday's attack, however the Pakistani Taliban has denied that they were involved.

Read more from Reason.com on the attack at yesterday's Boston marathon here