The Netflix app displayed on an iPad mini
Daniel Acker — Bloomberg via Getty Images
By Jasper Scherer
August 10, 2016

If Orange Is the New Black starts buffering in the middle of a binge watch on your phone and your first instinct is to blame Netflix (nflx), the streaming service wants you to think again.

Three months after launching fast.com, its free Internet speed test tool, Netflix is bringing the service to iOS and Android through its FAST Speed Test mobile app. Like the website, the app allows anyone—including non-subscribers—to quickly test the speed of their internet connections down to the megabit.

FAST Speed Test automatically—and immediately—calculates the speed of your ISP connection on launch, and it also provides a link to compare results on Speedtest.net, another popular network speed calculator. FAST Speed Test currently has 4.5 stars on the Apple (aapl) App Store and 4.1 stars on the Google (googl) Play store.

To calculate internet speed, the app measures the speed of downloads—how quickly data travels from a server to the user when streaming video or loading web pages—and it does not consider things Netflix can’t control, like the quality of the consumer’s router or how many people are on the network, according to the company’s tech blog. It calculates the download speed by performing a series of downloads from Netflix’s servers.

 

“We wanted to make sure that fast.com could be easily used and understood by the majority of internet users, without requiring them to have any prior knowledge of computer networking, command line tools, and the like,” Netflix’s Sergey Fedorov and Ellen Livengood wrote on the blog.

The FAST Speed Test app may also be Netflix’s way of adding a degree of transparency to its mobile streaming services, which came under fire in March when the company admitted it was throttling video quality—purposely limiting video speeds, in other words—for people watching over mobile networks.

Netflix claimed the purpose of the 600-kilobits-per-second speed cap was to help users stay under their data limits, but the move drew a lot backlash. In response, the company updated its main app in May (about two weeks before launching fast.com) to let users control their video stream rate over cellular networks. The FAST Speed Test app allows users to test their connection speed on mobile networks in addition to Wi-Fi connections.

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