It was an exciting time when Starlink launched pre-orders for its satellite internet service in February, as it has the potential to provide faster speed and better service to people living in rural areas or with spotty internet access. But a single feature on the Starlink site is delaying pre-orders by several years and there doesn’t appear to be a fix in sight, an issue first spotted by Ars Technica.
According to the report, some users of the r / Starlink subreddit moved their service area a few feet using the digital map tool on the site and ended up moving their pre-order dates from late 2021 to 2023. One user wrote, “I moved it from the end of my driveway to my house this morning and looked back and it had changed in 2022-2023.” In the same conversation, another noted: “I have moved the location of my barn to my house which is literally 13 feet in real time and now I am between the middle and the end of 2022.”
As Ars Technica notes, the map tool was still on the site, but Starlink recently made some changes to the layout of the site and also removed any mention of Starlink being in beta. The update appears to have pushed the map tool to a more visible location and also gave users a notification to check their location for “accuracy.” Naturally, anyone enthusiastically checking the status of their pre-order would be inclined to change their place of service if they noticed an error.
Apparently, this kind of pre-order delay with Starlink isn’t a new issue either – it’s just become more common due to the new location on the map. Another Reddit user said, “People here have been warning others for almost a year now. If you don’t have service yet and change your address, you go directly to the back of the line.
Elon Musk’s vision for Starlink is grand, and yet it’s small issues like these that undermine the service’s potential. Customer service issues are nothing new among Musk-owned brands – Tesla is known to have poor customer service, and Starlink is not following far behind. In September, Frustrated Starlink customers said they had been unable to reach the company to check the status of their orders for months after purchase.
Customers who were tempted to move their service area also contacted Starlink by email, but to no avail. Musk is rushing to expand space exploration and define an era of electric vehicles, but some of his customers here on Earth would just like their emails answered.
We contacted SpaceX regarding the situation but did not receive an immediate response.