Netflix really wants to show you how fast (or slow) your Internet connection is, and to do so it has launched a new website at Fast.com that conveys the real-time speed of your connection to the Web. It’s designed to give people “greater insight and control of their Internet service.”
It looks like Netflix procured the Fast.com domain last month, and, according to a filing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), is in the midst of trademarking the Fast logo. In the application, which was filed on May 5, Netflix said it was for:
- Providing a website featuring non-downloadable software for testing and analyzing the speed of a user’s Internet connection
- Downloadable computer software for testing and analyzing the speed of a user’s Internet connection
There is no word on any downloadable software yet, but the website is certainly now live and it’s a fairly straightforward offering. It works globally, on mobile Internet or domestic broadband, and it displays the speed of your connection, in megabits-per-second, at any given moment.
The launch comes just a few weeks after Netflix introduced new cellular data controls that let users tweak the quality of their video streams, so that those on patchier connections can select lower-quality streams.
Fast.com does seem like a random product on the surface, especially given the myriad of existing speed-test tools already available online, but Netflix wanted something of its own, that works in real time, and that is devoid of any annoying distractions (such as ads and other bells and whistles). Netflix’s new speed test tool actually links directly to Speedtest.net to allow you to compare the results (we can confirm that they are accurate).
“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,” said David Fullagar, vice president of content delivery architecture at Netflix, in a blog post. “When you’re experiencing streaming issues, fast.com allows you to check the download speeds you’re getting from your Internet service provider. Using Netflix servers, fast.com works like other globally available tools including speedtest.net, and the results should be similar in most cases.”