America Online's British subsidiary, AOL UK, said it plans to shut down its "free" Netscape Online service by the summer. Netscape Online was originally launched in 1999 to combat Internet service providers such as Freeserve, which waived monthly subscription fees but took a cut of revenue from metered phone charges.
An AOL UK representative said the phase-out was tied to increased emphasis in offering its flat-rate AOL plan to consumers. In June 2000, new regulations forced telecommunications giant British Telecom to offer flat-rate pricing for ISP subscribers. AOL UK's flat-rate plan charges people a monthly fee, but subscribers are not charged dial-up fees by the minute.