Present BigPond cable services offer broadband at a maximum speed of around 8Mbps.
"We've been upgrading the cable network's infrastructure, and we have been trialling software changes to evaluate the network's ability to provide even higher speeds," said BigPond group managing director Justin Milne.
|BigPond group MD Justin Milne|
"During the trial, cable customers experiences download speeds of up to 17Mbps," he added, noting actual speeds could vary.
The executive said customers would be able to access the higher speeds for just AU$10 a month more than BigPond's standard cable prices.
"After the introduction of the Cable Extreme plans, customers on our 20Gb plan who participated in the trial will continue to receive the higher download speeds, at no increase in their monthly access fee," he said.
The move by BigPond comes as smaller cable operator Neighbourhood Cable, which has infrastructure in rural Victoria, said in early January that it would likewise boost speeds for customers.
"With Neighbourhood Cable's recent upgrades we have tested speeds with capabilities of up to 30Mbps download and 2Mbps upload," said the telco's chief executive Ian Fry at the time.
In addition a number of Telstra's competitors launched next-generation ADSL2+ services in 2005, which offer speeds of up to 24Mbps. Telstra itself has so far limited its ADSL1 services to 1.5Mbps.
Milne said the new speeds would complement the pending launch of BigPond's on-demand movie service.
BigPond claims to have more than 250,000 customers using its cable broadband service. Optus also owns a large cable network but is not known to have upped its speeds as Neighbourhood Cable and Telstra have.