Level 3 withdraws petition, trouble for VoIP?

Looks like the arbitrage party VoIP has been having may come to a swift end. Today Level 3 withdrew its forbearance petition, though the company said it might file the petition later. Level 3 Chairman/CEO Jim Crowe in a statement said, that since Kevin martin had just taken over as the FCC chairman, the company thought it would be unfair to ask for a judgment on this issue.

In the petition, we asked the FCC to reaffirm that legacy interconnection fees called ‘access charges’ do not apply to a certain class of VoIP traffic. By statute, the agency was required to issue a decision in the matter by March 22, 2005.

I suspect, like most in the VoIP business Level 3 is realizing that Michael Powell is gone and Chairman Martin is no VoIP enthusiast and is going to take a harsh and critical look at VoIP.

Jeff Pulver adds: We, however, were at the FCC meeting with Level 3 and the FCC Commissioners late last week, and have had growing concerns that the FCC was not yet prepared to grant the petition. Perhaps the attitude was, pull the petition, build some good blood, live to fight another day, and hope for certain in the relative short term…. I, for one, long for the day when the last-mile wireline carriers recognize that they need us as much as we need them – that creation of a unified, ubiquitous network of networks, with relatively easy transiting between and across platforms and technologies is in everyone’s best interest and no one should be extracting monopoly rents to reach anyone else’s captive customers.

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