Why Netflix’s new internet speed test is important

Fast Com

When you go to Fast.com, you might see slow results.

And that can be a big problem for cord cutters who rely on streaming services.

Netflix this week launched a free speed test website called Fast.com that lets you check if you’re pulling down the internet speeds that you pay for.

The website is easy: The moment you go to the site, it automatically calculates your download speeds. You can then compare those results with SpeedTest.net results, the go-to online speed test site.

So, why is Fast.com important for streamers and even casual Netflix watchers?

One, it puts the idea of testing your internet’s speed in your mind. A lot of times, people may complain about how their internet is acting slow, but they have no hard data to back it up. If you’re paying your internet service provider for 60 Mbps, but you’re only pulling down 30 or less, then there’s a problem.

But perhaps a bigger issue you may have is if your Fast.com results are showing significantly lower than the SpeedTest results, according to a report by Quartz.

The Fast.com test checks your download speeds from Netflix’s servers, while SpeedTest just connects you to random servers that are nearby, so a disparity shows that your ISP may be throttling your connection to Netflix.

If that’s the case, Netflix suggests you should go complain to your ISP. “If results from fast.com and other speed tests often show less speed than you have paid for, you can ask your ISP about the results,” Netflix says on Fast.com’s FAQ page. All that’s missing is the wink emoji.

Each month, Netflix releases its “Speed Index,” which ranks ISPs around the world on how fast they perform on Netflix during primetime viewing hours. A Cut Cable Today analysis of those indexes showed that Verizon FiOS is the must-have ISP for cord cutters.

Andrew Dodson

Andrew Dodson is a journalist from Michigan who writes for MLive.com, the state's top online news source. Email him at andrewdodson@streamingobserver.com.
Disclosure: Streaming Observer is supported by readers. Articles may contain referral links. For more information, see the disclosure at the bottom of the page.