There was an official announcement about it on Nov 30th I think and it came into effect the next day.
I got a free visa in Vientiane a few days ago. There's an announcement about the free visa on their website http://vientiane.thaiembassy.org/en/news/announce/detail.php?ID=407
Queues for the visa application were massive but they were still processing the applications in one day. In fact you HAVE to pick up your passport the following day or the visa will be null and void.
Another thing people should be aware of (for the Vientiane consulate at least) is that visa applications will be refused if no proper street address is provided for your guest house or hotel. A guest house/hotel telephone number is also required on the application form, plus the phone number of a sponsor in Thailand.