updated 12/8/2006 6:13:05 PM ET 2006-12-08T23:13:05

U.S. subscribers to Internet-based telephone services grew 18 percent to 8.2 million in the third quarter, but the growth rate slowed for a second straight quarter, according to the research firm TeleGeography.

The latest tally on the market for Voice over Internet Protocol, better known as VoIP, is more than double the total of a year ago.

VoIP revenues for the second quarter were up about two and a half times — $732 million across the United States, compared with a year-ago level of $298 million.

Vonage Holdings Corp. remained the biggest provider with 1.95 million subscribers, followed again by Time Warner Inc.'s cable TV business at 1.64 million. But Comcast Corp. moved into third place with 1.35 million, surpassing Cablevision Systems Corp.'s 1.10 million.

TeleGeography predicted the market would grow by roughly 1.5 million subscribers in the fourth quarter to end the year with 9.7 million, or about 8.7 percent of the nation's households. Revenues are expected to approach $2.6 billion for the year, or more than 2.5 times the 2005 total of just over $1 billion.

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