Netflix has launched Fast.com, which is the kind of short catchy URL that I didn't believe was possible to get hold of in this day and age. Guess all the subscription money must really pay off.
Fast.com is about as simple a website as you can possible imagine, vaguely reministent of those one function joke websites that tell you if it's Christmas Day or not. All Fast.com does is give you a quick reading on your internet speeds via Netflix's servers.
It works anywhere in the world on mobile on desktop, so you can check out your ability to watch House of Cards when away on business on iffy shared WiFi, should you wish.
There's no shortage of these tools around - indeed Fast.com actually links to Speedtest at the end to get a second opinion - so why has Netflix bothered? According to a blog post on the subject, it's just about giving the customer “greater insight and control of their Internet service.”
That's nice, but not entirely convincing. The FAQ on Fast.com suggests anyone disatisfied with their performance should “
ask your ISP about the results” which sounds a little passive-aggressive to me. That's not surprising: Netflix has a tricky relationship with ISPs with regards to net neutrality, and Fast.com is a handy tool to help ensure that when it comes to picking sides, you're more likely to have the video company's back than your ISP's.
As if that was ever in doubt. Any company that revived Arrested Development is okay in my book.