The newest addition to Netflix's suite of internet connection tools is Fast.com, a quick and easy utility that lets you check your connection speed in real time. The streaming service filed for related trademarks just under a week ago, so its existence isn't coming out of nowhere. It works with both mobile and broadband connections, so you can use it both at home and on-the-go; it works around the world, so you can easily put your shoddy hostel Wi-Fi to the test when you're backpacking across the globe; and you don't need to be a Netflix subscriber to use it.
If you're interested in information other than your download speed, you'll need to turn somewhere else. Fast.com doesn't constitute Netflix's attempt to compete with well-known services like Speedtest.net — in fact, it links out to Speedtest once it's finished testing so you can compare your results. (Mine were consistently within 10% of each other, but other staffers have reported wider ranges.) It's just supposed to serve as a simple check when you're having trouble binging whatever piece of Netflix original programming is on your menu.
"We all want a faster, better internet"
"We all want a faster, better internet, yet internet speeds vary greatly and can be affected by other users on your network or congestion with your internet service provider," wrote Netflix vice president of content delivery architecture David Fullagar in a blog post. "Like the cellular data controls we recently introduced, fast.com is another tool consumers can use for greater insight and control of their internet service."