Cellphone Overload At Boston Marathon Bombings Highlight Reliability Concerns

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Following the bombings near the finish line of the Boston Marathon this week, cellphone services became so overloaded in the area that many thought authorities had shut it down completely.

It highlights the growing concerns here in the Bay Area over cell service in major emergencies, such as a natural disaster.

Heidi Flato with Verizon Wireless said that it can be a problem when everybody is trying to contact friends or loved ones, and none of the calls seem to be going through.

“We really recommend that during a crisis, people rely on text messaging or perhaps checking in on Facebook or Twitter,” she said.

Flato said that it is not feasible to build out a system so robust that everybody can talk at once.

“The beauty of wireless in a crisis situation is that if you have the ability to text, you’re more likely to get that through,” said Flato.

Both Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel reported major disruptions to service on Monday after two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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