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ISP choice: decisions, decisions. (And usability determines the winner.)
This post could also be titled: "EMI finally got a clue, but they still suck."

When I am in a place of my own, the first utility to set up will be electricity, because that powers the Internet access. Then it's time to decide on an ISP.

I had thought I had made my choice: $70/mth will get me Naked DSL from iiNet, including hardware, VoIP and sufficient data quota for my current needs. In theory, I could get a service from AAPT, but have typically not found them appealing enough. Competitive, yes; groundbreaking, no. The latest offer, however, seems to have changed that, with a $100/mth deal including unlimited data, music streaming, line rental and hardware. Oh, and some credit for music purchases.

At first I dismissed it, because the generic version of the site is EMI-only. However, AAPT's just using it for the technology, and has signed agreements with the rest of the big four, with independants now being added.

So, is it worth it? Well, it would be – if it worked. I'd love to be able to stream music that I'm not sure about buying, and being able to hear more than piddly little 30 second previews would make me more likely to buy anyway.

But here's where it all falls down: Flash. The site is powered by a poorly designed Flash application that crashes my browser and has extremely poor usability. If I have to struggle to queue up an album to listen to, and then have my computer's fan going berserk before the whole thing falls in a heap, then clearly I'm not going to bother on a regular basis.

So, back to iiNet as my preferred choice. The extra $30/mth is worth it for those with high data usage, but for me, something smaller is about right.

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iiNet has the advantage of free traffic for things like ABC iView, as well (though I dont know if AAPT also offer that).

I've wondered about this new unlimted data plan of AAPTs. I was of the understaning every ISP that's tried such a stunt had to yoink it not long after thanks to leechers. A truly data-unlimited ISP would have their bandwidth hammered, surely.

Oh and as for music online - I've probably suggested this before but have you tried emusic? Theyre not too bad. They even have some majors now, though alas not in Aus. Hoping that'll change soon.

Yes, the inclusion of things like iView and iTunes Store in iiNet's FreeZone is a plus, as are their highly usable site, reasonable terms and conditions, and their response to the Government and to the record industry on policy matters.

Small ISPs could not offer unlimited, for the reason you state. Being larger and having business traffic through the day makes it easier for AAPT to handle it. In theory, Yahoo could be brought down by abuse of the unlimited upload quota on paid Flickr accounts, but in practice, scale provides protection. Not that AAPT is the size of Yahoo, but still...

Additionally, I believe there's some little publicised traffic classification going on to protect the bulk of the traffic by limiting P2P traffic in times of congestion. Not sure how much that's an issue, though, especially as traffic gets cheaper. We coped with the 8am-8pm unlimited offer okay (although it didn't sell as well as hoped), and I imagine 24 hour unlimited will be the same.

Monthly subscriptions don't suit me, hence unsubscribing from eMusic. It's great if you want to explore and if you remember to log in sometimes. I prefer to pick up individual albums I'm seeking.

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