Technology

Wireless Networks Deluged Following Boston Marathon Explosions

Carriers Scramble to Handle Usage Spikes, Urge Users to Text Instead of Call 4/15/2013 2:39 PM Eastern

Major wireless operators scrambled Monday to handle overwhelming mobile network volume following explosions at the Boston Marathon, with most  urging customers to use text services so emergency calls could get through.

"Our thoughts are with those affected by today’s events at the Boston Marathon," AT&T said, in a statement. "As we coordinate with local officials, customers in the area may be experiencing issues with wireless voice and data service due to a spike of network activity and related congestion. We recommend customers use text messaging for emergencies. We also advise customers to keep non-emergency calls to a minimum. To help, our temporary Wi-Fi turned up for the Boston Marathon will remain on for an extended timeframe."  That temporary Wi-Fi network is open to all wireless users, and will remain so for the near future. Later Monday, AT&T said it had set up a mobile calling center and phone charging station in the Sheraton Hotel.

Verizon Wireless "has been enhancing network voice capacity to enable additional calling in the Copley Square area of Boston,” the carrier said in a statement carried by multiple reports. “Customers are advised to use text or email to free up voice capacity for public safety officials at the scene. There was no damage to the Verizon Wireless network, which is seeing elevated calling and data usage throughout the region since the explosions occurred."

"Minus some mild call blocking on our Boston network due to increased traffic, our service is operating normally," Sprint said, in a statement received  early Monday evening. "Sprint did augment capacity on its cell sites along the marathon route in preparation for today’s race and voice levels are returning to normal as law enforcement and first responders have cleared out the area as part of their emergency response. We are asking customers to text rather than call to free up lines for emergency personnel."

 

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