Netflix has launched fast.com, an ad-free mobile and broadband speed test to inform users how slow or fast their connection really is.
It's in Netflix's interest that its users have decent broadband speeds, but that doesn't always happen for numerous reasons. So, for those occasions when a connection is patchy, it's launched the website fast.com, which does just one thing: measure your current download speed.
"When you're experiencing streaming issues, fast.com allows you to check the download speeds you're getting from your internet service provider," said David Fullagar, Netflix's vice president of content delivery architecture, in a blogpost.
The tool is another example of how Netflix wants to help consumers gain "greater insight and control over their internet service", Fullagar added.
An earlier example of those efforts is the recently released setting on Netflix for mobile devices, which helps people manage data usage and avoid blowing out their mobile cap.
The feature lets mobile users dial up or down the quality of each stream. Netflix introduced it after causing a stir by admitting it had been throttling streaming speeds over mobile networks across the globe.
Netflix said it had taken that step to stop consumers from exceeding their cap and facing additional fees from mobile carriers.
While there are many speed tests available, Netflix's website isn't cluttered with ads and doesn't contain additional information, such as a ping test, that non-technical users likely wouldn't understand or care about.
Users simply load the page on a mobile, desktop or smart TV browser, and the test starts automatically, producing a result after a few seconds.
Other than the simple design, Netflix's speed test works in the same fashion as speedtest.net, but relies on a few downloads to Netflix's servers to measure speeds. It should give similar readings to other speed test services, according to Fullagar.
The service may also help direct Netflix users to file a complaint at the right place the next time the streaming service isn't working due to issues outside Netflix's control.
In an FAQ, Netflix notes that, "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."