Level 3 Communications (LVLT) was up 7.9% in early trading after the company announced it will buy back up to $1.8 billion of its almost $8 billion in debt.

The fiber-optic network builder plans to buy back portions of seven dollar-denominated note issues and two euro-denominated note issues in a "modified Dutch auction," the company said. The notes mature in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Level 3 follows a string of telcos that have moved to pare back debt, including

Nextel

(NXTL)

and

XO Communications

(XOXO)

.