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05/15/08 | 19:33PM
Florida seeks to fine VZ for bad service

NEW YORK, May 15 (Reuters) - Florida's attorney general said on Thursday the state was seeking to fine Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N: Quote, Profile, Research) for violating service standards, but the No. 2 U.S. telephone company said its service was fine.

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said he, along with the state's public counsel and an attorney for the AARP retiree group, asked the Florida Public Service Commission to levy a $6.5 million penalty against Verizon for willful violation of rules on service repairs.

"That's nonsense, we don't willfully violate anything," said Verizon spokesman Eric Rabe. "I think there's no competitor that offers better services that we do."

The commission's rules require that at least 95 percent of reported service outages be restored within 24 hours, and at least 95 percent of other trouble reports be fixed within 72 hours.

McCollum said Verizon violated the rules 262 times in 2007.

Rabe said the company would make a strong case to the commission. (Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; editing by John Wallace

- Verizon H8er ID: D86DF6

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