Level 3 Withdraws Request for VoIP Fee Ruling

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By Declan McCullagh Staff Writer, CNET News.com

One of the most important Internet telephony rulings of the year was expected from federal regulators Tuesday, but now it won't happen.

In a surprise move, an Internet telephony company that had asked the Federal Communications Commission for the ruling said late Monday that it was withdrawing its request.

Level 3 Communications had been telling the FCC that the company should be able to pay lower fees to local telephone companies to begin or end voice calls on their networks. The decision from the FCC was expected to have a far-reaching impact on the voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, industry. If Level 3 had lost, the prices for some VoIP calls could have jumped.

But because FCC Chairman Michael Powell had left last week, the timing was no longer right for a ruling, Level 3 CEO James Crowe said in a statement. "The appointment of new leadership only three business days before the statutory deadline for ruling on the petition" made it "inappropriate to ask the agency to resolve this important issue in the timeframe required by law," Crowe said.

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