The online arm of UK PC maker Tiny is the latest internet service provider to stick its head above the parapet and offer flat-fee internet access, called T-surf.

After AltaVista, ntl, Freeserve and a host of other ISPs ran into problems and had to limit or cancel their flat-fee access offerings, Tiny Online is confident it won’t make the same mistake because it is limiting its service from the outset.

T-surf subscribers will pay £9.99 for 1,000 minutes a month, after which they will be charged 1, 2 or 3p a minute, depending on the time of day.

Tiny will maintain its conventional pay-as-you-go service, which the company expects the majority of its customers to stick with, said Colin Greene, managing director of Tiny Online.

Last summer, numerous ISPs vastly underestimated the demand for flat-fee access and had to restrict services, which were launched on the promise of unlimited surfing. But Greene promised that Tiny won’t make the same mistake.

“Subscription services have to be the same quality as PAYG, so we’re pitching T-surf at a price which we can support both technically and financially,” he said. “The only direction our price will go is down.”

Tiny has accumulated over 500,000 subscribers since its launch 18 months ago, acquiring the majority through internet access bundled with its PCs. Most are first-time users who spend between 400 and 500 a month minutes online.