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Verizon Communications is to start an office to deal with the many complaints about its high-speed Net service in New York.

The monster telco today said the Silicon Alley Advocate's Office would act as a liaison between itself and city's hi-tech businesses.

The unit, expected to be up and running in the next few weeks, will get to dig around in some of the major gripes the city's Internet sector has about the monster telco. These include the amount of time it takes to install high speed Internet access, and repairs and general service delays.

But staff will only initially deal with voice and data services such as super speedy T1 lines, not DSL for home or small business users.

Verizon said DSL issues would continue to be handled by the New York State Public Service Commission.

Verizon has come under increasing criticism in the city, with industry heads accusing its poor DSL and high-speed Internet services of damaging the New York economy. It has also been slated across the US, with unhappy customers limbering up for a spell of lawsuits.

In today's announcement the company also said it planned to team up with trade group New York Software Industry Association (NYSIA) to start an advisory council to deal with issues specific to Silicon Alley companies.

Verizon and its allegedly dodgy DSL service will be the subject of a protest meeting next week in New York. Politicians, ISPs and the city's businesses are expected to turn up to try to push the telco monster, which was created by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE, into improving its service. ®

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