It's actually only about a week away from beta. If anyone is interested in seeing it then the beta signup link is below.
LOTRO Goes Free to Play!
It looks like the decision was Turbines though as its way too close to have been a WB decision. I think the turn around of DDO was too much for them to ignore - and if they can recreate that on LOTRO which is far from in the doldrums like DDO was then they may be onto a real winner.
And yes for people like me with lifetime accounts we continue to get free access to the game and get a monthly stipend of points to spend in the shop
They have similar deals for people on recurring subscriptions as well - so if you pay a sub you get more but you can still play free.