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How fast is your internet? Netflix’s Fast.com website will tell you

Streaming video may be what Netflix is best known for, but now the company also offers a tool for checking the speed of your personal internet connection. Today Netflix launched Fast.com, a new website that serves as a quick and easy way to determine the download speeds you’re getting from your internet service provider.

Fast.com is meant to work with any device, whether that be a smartphone, computer, or smart TV with browser. You don’t have to be a Netflix member to use the website, nor does it throw any ads at you. You literally just go to the website and wait for it to quickly report its findings.

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“When you’re experiencing streaming issues, fast.com allows you to check the download speeds you’re getting from your Internet service provider,” wrote David Fullagar, Netflix’s vice president of content delivery architecture, in a blog post published today. “We want our members to have a simple, quick, commercial-free way to estimate the speed their ISP is providing.”

Fullagar explained how Fast.com’s speed test is different from the company’s ISP Speed Index. While the new website measures a user’s personal internet connection at a given point in time, “the speed index measures average monthly speeds of actual Netflix streams during prime time hours.”

The new website joins a growing list of consumer tools introduced by Netflix. While they’re certainly useful, the company’s motives in launching them are likely not 100 percent altruistic. After all, if your streaming quality is poor, you may head to Fast.com and discover that your ISP is to blame, redirecting your irritation away from Netflix. Plus, the tool may inspire users to opt for faster internet, which would in turn improve their streaming experience — and thus their Netflix satisfaction.