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Exclusive: Freeserve unmetered announcement Tuesday

The UK's largest ISP responds to the competition with an unmetered offering of its own. Richard Barry reports

The UK's largest ISP, Freeserve, will announce on Tuesday plans to tackle the recent spate of unmetered access deals that have seen its share price plummet.

According to sources, Freeserve will reveal a "highly competitive" unmetered deal this morning and will concentrate on a quality offering, rather than a "cheap as possible" alternative.

Under the leadership of chief executive John Pluthero, who was recently interviewed exclusively on ZDNet UK News, Freeserve is expected to mount an innovative, but pragmatic, defence against the recent onslaught of free-ish offerings. "Don't expect Freeserve to offer a £50 for life deal," said the source. "They'll be launching something that has a strong focus on quality and something it can sustain in the coming market environment."

At time of writing, no analysts were available for comment.

Freeserve's response needs to be strong: on Monday, UK ISP Breathe.net joined the gang of ISPs clamouring to provide unmetered access. It announced a deal with a one-off charge of £50 for lifetime registration.

By Friday of last week, at least six ISPs -- including LineOne, cable company ntl and Virgin -- had announced their own plans to launch free services following AltaVista's move, which was revealed exclusively on ZDNet a week earlier. Shares in Freeserve have dropped around 30 percent since AltaVista's announcement.

More details to follow.

See also our Unmetered Access Special.

Free and unmetered internet access has been on the agenda for some time -- right now the battle is on. Go to AnchorDesk UK to get the news comment from Tony Westbrook.

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