Comcast’s speed tests differ from Fast.com

By Ben Schulman

I like watching Netflix as much as the next overworked college student, and the company added something to the internet recently that I think is a wonderful tool for any internet user.

Netflix recently launched a new website called Fast.com. Its function is to check the speed of your internet. You might be wondering why this is so wonderful.

Comcast is often accused of throttling its internet speed. (AP Photo)

I use Comcast, and am assured by Comcast that I am getting the fastest service, according to its product description. There are multiple sites to test your internet speed, such as Speedtest.net. In fact, internet service providers like Comcast encourage their users to test their speeds on Speedtest.net. Well, I wanted to give Netflix’s speed tester a chance.

Netflix’s Fast.com measured my speed at a rate of 118 megabits per second. Then, I tested my speed on Speedtest.net, which told me I had a speed of 142 Mbps. I was confused, and wondered why Fast.com gave me such a lower rate than Speedtest.net. I decided to do a little experiment — I called my friend back home who also uses Comcast, and asked him to test his internet speed using both websites. He reported that with Speedtest.net, he had 240.5 Mbps, and had 190 Mbps on Fast.com.

I challenge all who read this article and have Comcast, or any other internet service provider for that matter, to test your speeds using Speedtest.net, or any other prominent speed checking website, and then compare directly to Netflix’s Fast.com. Your speeds will most likely be lower, just like mine.

Comcast and other ISP’s already dominate the industry, and the speed they are used by per customer. I would not put it past Comcast to prioritize web traffic to websites like Speedtest.net to give artificially inflated Mbps rates to users, while simultaneously throttling their unsuspecting customer’s internet speed. Comcast’s ability to direct traffic to these speed testing websites gives them the power to essentially police themselves, which is calamitous since they have the full capacity to abuse their power.

It is plausible for Comcast to wield such devious methods, given its horrendous customer service and overall ratings as a company. Comcast was ranked number six out of the eight worst companies to work for, according to Business Insider.

Now, there is the possibility that Netflix’s Fast.com is fraudulent, and gives users artificially deflated rates. After all, Netflix has accused Comcast of throttling its speeds to stifle streams. I personally think that Fast.com is designed by Netflix to show that Comcast throttles the connection of not only their competitors, but their customers too.

You might also be wondering why Comcast doesn’t prioritize web traffic to Fast.com to inflate its numbers and hide the discrepancy. After forming a “mutually beneficial” agreement with Netflix in 2014, it’s possible Comcast cannot prioritize web traffic to Fast.com without prioritizing web traffic to Netflix, thus boosting Netflix’s service, according to Consumerist. I think that Comcast should be investigated to see if it is throttling its customer’s service and charging them full price in the process. This is blatant false advertising if true, but there are a lot of variables that need to be solved first.

Comcast is already notorious among customers and lambasted for bad service, according to Consumer Affairs. I feel that it is within Comcast’s or any other ISP’s capacity to throttle their customer’s internet connection. Nobody is guilty of anything yet, but there are certainly more questions that should be answered about this topic.

Students share opinions around campus
“Do you find your internet speed to be faster while using Netflix?”

King Sams-Valentiago, a sophomore psychology and criminology double major. (Brielle Bryan/Opinions Editor)

“Yes. When I’m on Netflix, the internet is faster than on Youtube.”

Magdalen Link, a senior health and exercise science major. (Brielle Bryan/Opinions Editor)

“I haven’t noticed. Probably slower”