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Contrary to Reports, Cell Network Not Shut Off in Boston

April 16, 2013

By Paul Thomson :: 5:09 PM

Cell phone service in Boston remained on yesterday.Although reports quickly circulated yesterday that government authorities asked cell phone network providers to shut down service in the city, no such action was taken.

In the hours after the Boston Marathon bombing tragedy, rumors and some credible news reports, even the AP, claimed that cell phone service in the immediate blast area had been turned off at the direction of law enforcement officials. Today, however, carriers are disputing this information, and saying that the reason many people in the area could not complete their mobile phone calls was due to network congestion.

The sheer number of cell phone users trying to dial friends and family to let them know they were o.k. was causing a stress on the cell phone system.

“Verizon Wireless has not been asked by any government agency to turn down its wireless service,” said a spokesperson for the cell service provider. While heavy usage did cause connection timeouts and delays, service remained turned on across the city for the entire day.