Tuesday, January 19, 2021
Home Opinions International Comcast’s speed tests differ from Fast.com

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.

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.

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 (envato elements).

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”

1 COMMENT

  1. Looks like I’m late to the party, and there are no other comments here, so why not add my two confusing cents worth? My ISP is COX, and I pay for 940Mbps DL speed which for numerous reasons is not a guaranteed speed. Most of the online speed tests will typically yield acceptable results.
    https://www.speedtest.net/ : 873.80 Mbps
    https://www.att.com/support/speedtest/ : 840.7 Mbps
    https://speedtest.xfinity.com/ : 813.5 Mbps
    https://projectstream.google.com/speedtest : 685.408 Mbps
    https://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/ : 552.7 Mbps
    https://www.spectrum.com/internet/speed-test : 635.3 Mbps
    https://www.centurylink.com/home/help/internet/internet-speed-test.html : 622.1 Mbps
    https://www.highspeedinternet.com/tools/speed-test : 671.73 Mbps
    https://testmyspeed.onl/ : 786.6 Mbps
    https://fast.com/ : 400 Mbps
    Now, fast.com appears to yield a slower speed than other testers, but check out Comcast results, and remember my maximum speed with COX as my ISP is 940 Mbps.
    https://business.comcast.com/learn/internet-speed-test : 1839 Mbps
    2nd test: 2288 Mbps
    3rd test: 1877 Mbps
    How could this be??? Now, I did take notice that the URL was a “business” site as opposed to a possible residential test which might exist, so I search for another Comcast test, which I found and it produced the following results:
    https://broadbandnow.com/XFINITY-speed-test : 829.75 Mbps
    2nd test: 105.70 Mbps (must have been a major hiccup)
    3rd test: 751.37 Mbps
    4th test: 591.35 Mbps
    So, everything is pretty much as expected ignoring the one hiccup. However, fast.com was the slowest, but I still am at a loss to explain why the speed test on Comcast business site would yield such inflated results. Anyone care to enlighten me as to how this is possible? Granted one’s speeds could be far below what is expected because of numerous factors that could simultaneously contribute to slower speeds, but do ISP’s not set the cap, or maximum, for your speed? In other words if you pay to receive dl speeds of x Mbps, you will rarely have that speed, but most of the time your speed should be relatively close to x. However, with your ISP setting a maximum dl speed, you should never see any speeds that are much over that maximum, nor should they ever be sustained above x Mbps for any significant amount of time from my understanding. So once again, how is it that business Comcast online speed test can yield such results?

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