The Kettering Telephone Exchange  has recently been upgraded to support ADSL2+. How can you take advantage of this upgrade?

ADSL2+ provides a theoretical maximum download speed of  up to 20 Mb/sec (Megabits per second).  This compares to a maximum of up to 8 Mb/sec for standard ADSL.  A number of local residents are currently on Internet Service Provider (ISP) plans which restrict download speeds to 1.5 Mb/sec irrespective of the theoretical maximum capacity of the connection.

Whether you can take advantage of the new improved speeds will depend on your ISP and whether or not you are directly  connected to the Kettering  exchange. 

The broadband infrastructure at Kettering is provided by Telstra.  Any ISP offering a service in Kettering is effectively reselling a Telstra wholesale product.  Your ISP may not necessarily be prepared to resell ADSL2+ services even though they are available.

Some people in Kettering are not connected directly  to the Kettering exchange but are connected via an intermediary piece of equipment known as a RIM (remote integrated multiplexor).  If you fall into this category then you will not be able to take advantage of ADSL2+ speeds.

If you want to improve the the speed of your broadband connection then the first thing to do is to contact your ISP.  They should be able to confirm whether or not you can be moved to ADSL2+.  Even if you are currently on a plan which says that it offers ADSL2+ services you will still have to contact your ISP to enable those services.  It won't automatically happen just because the exchange has been upgraded.

The other thing to be aware of is that you will need to have an ADSL2+-capable modem.  The user guide that came with the modem should tell you if this is the case.  If you don't have a user guide you can probably find one fairly easily via Google.  If you are unable to determine the answer then your ISP should be able to tell you when you contact them about the plan change.  Just quote your modem brand and model number (probably on a sticker on the back of bottom of the unit).

Moving to ADSL2+ will not necessarily cost you more money.  If you have been on the same plan for a long time then it will almost certainly be the case that your ISP will now be offering more competetively priced plans than they were even a year ago.

Go to your ISPs website and have a look at what plans they have on offer.  Pick the one that appeals based on download allocation and your budget.  Then contact your ISP by phone and tell them you want to swap to an ADSL2+ plan.  This step may require patience depending on your ISP!

Even if you are one of the people who isn't able to get ADSL2+ its still worth having a look at the latest plan offerings from your ISP.  Prior to ADSL2+ becoming available, one local increased their download speed by almost 10-fold by upgrading from an old plan  to a current one.  And it actually cost them less per month for the better service.

Note:  The download speeds mentioned above refer to the theoretical maximum speed that can be achieved for the relevant technology.  In practice you may not achieve these levels of service depending on a number of factors such as distance from the exchange, quality of the underground wiring, congestion caused by the link from the exchange into the backbone network becoming overloaded and so on.

You can test your current download speed at www.speedtest.net.  You will see a lot of buttons to press.  To test the line speed press the big "Begin Test" button.  Another worthwhile test is to try the bandwidth test on the ABC Iview website.  It doesn't provide a measure of your download spped but does determine if your connection is sufficient to watch ABC TV programs on line (very handy if you want to watch one you missed and your ISP plan has a reasonably generous download allocation).

Don't forget that running these tests will consume some of your monthly download allowance.