Cellphone Service Shut Down in Boston (No it wasn’t)

April 15th, 2013


A law enforcement official says cellphone service has been shut down in the Boston area to prevent any potential remote detonations of explosives.

Authorities have not identified what caused the explosives that erupted at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The official was speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.

The explosions have killed two people and injured at least 23 others.

I wonder if the inability to use portable communication devices during a time of emergency will have unintended consequences. Also, I wonder what the process was like to shut all of it down.

Update: Maybe cell phone service hasn’t been shut down?

Update: No, cell phone service was not shut down.

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.)