Freeserve, one of the first free ISPs (Internet service provider) in the UK, has joined the flat-rate access debate and launched its own service for unmetered Internet calls.

Beginning in May, Freeserve subscribers will be charged no more than £6.99 per month for unmetered calls made over BT lines during off-peak hours, according to Steven Pang, a Freeserve spokesman.

Freeserve also has a separate deal with telecommunications company Energis for unmetered access at all times when a minimum of £10 per month is spent on voice calls. That deal is an extension of the existing Freeserve Time offer.

The Freeserve/BT unmetered Internet access offer will be extended to 85 per cent of BT customers, Pang said. In anticipation of Freeserve Time's popularity, the sign-up is limited to 10,000 Freeserve/Energis users per week, he said.

"We are aware of availability restrictions and quality of service, so we think this is a workable figure," Pang said.