Brussels attacks: Phone networks down and saturated after explosions at Zaventem airport and Metro station

Belgium’s official Crisis Centre has warned people not to call but to text or use social media instead, to keep phone lines from going down

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The Independent Tech

Phone networks in Belgium have broken down as people look to contact friends and family in the wake of explosions in Brussels.

Internet companies are opening up Wi-Fi networks and officials are advising people not to call others in an attempt to keep the networks from getting even more saturated. People in Belgium are instead advised to text or to use social media to ensure that networks can continue to work.

Belgium’s crisis centre tweeted: “Don’t call. Use texting or social media. Network is getting saturated.”

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The centre has also set up a dedicated telephone number on 1771, which will provide information to people who are in need. That number is also getting saturated, the centre said.

Some internet companies are taking restrictions off their Wi-Fi hotspots so that people can connect to the web rather than attempting to use phone networks. Telenet, Belgium’s largest cable provider, has already opened all of its hotspots for 24 hours to allow people to get internet access.

Video shows people fleeing Brussels airport explosion

Facebook has not yet turned on the Safety Check feature that is intended to help people mark themselves safe in the event of tragedies and disasters such as those in Belgium.