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In other cases, the ISP has real (and hopefully temporary) routing problems, or a critical failure and they are on backup.
Normally network specialists plan for optimal routing, but during fast growth, your ISP may have got into a situation where customers pay penalty in ping time while the ISP figures out how to resolve the problem.
The first step in diagnosis of high latency is to figure out the ping time to your default gateway. You may do this by using the Line Quality tool at this site, or by using Visual Route from Datametrics (www.visualroute.com).
If your default gateway ping is good, the next step is to get a trace to a server that you believe should be nearby.
Ideally, nearby servers are available with a few number of hops and low total latency.
What can you do if faced with persistent high latency?
Unfortunately, nothing. ISPs are not obliged to operate with any minimum latency guarantees, so vote with your feet. Discussing the problem with as senior a technical support person as you can find may reveal they have expansion plans that will ease the problem in your area.
Also read About DSL for lots more information