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Vonage cracks into market dominated by landlines

VoIP provider and co-market a home alarm system that doesn't depend on a traditional phone line.

Net phone operator Vonage has teamed up with to tackle a common problem that has kept some consumers with home alarm systems from subscribing to Internet phone services.

Home and office security provider has begun marketing Vonage along with its own equipment in an effort to appeal to people who may want voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service but are already tied to a landline phone via their alarm systems.

Typically, home alarm systems require consumers to have a traditional phone line from one of the Bell telephone companies--Verizon Communications, Qwest Communications International, BellSouth and SBC Communications. That means consumers with home alarms are often less likely to sign up for phone service from VoIP providers such as Vonage.

With VoIP, calls travel over the unregulated Internet, thus avoiding the traditional phone taxes and regulations normally associated with local phone calls.

By inextricably linking their alarms to the Bells' phone lines, security companies are forcing VoIP converts to sign up for local phone service instead, according to executives from Vonage and

The deal is a signal that Vonage, and presumably other VoIP operators, are continuing to focus on major issues with their services. Perhaps biggest of all is VoIP's failure to provide a 911 service that matches the efficiency of the Bells' emergency service. The issue is now the subject of intense federal and state regulatory scrutiny.