It was an exciting moment when Starlink rolled out preorders for its satellite internet service in February since it can potentially provide faster speed and better service to those in rural areas or with spotty internet access. But a single feature on the Starlink site is causing preorders to be delayed by years and there appears to be no fix in sight, an issue first spotted by Ars Technica.
According to the report, some users on the r/Starlink subreddit moved their service area by just a few feet using the digital map tool on the site and wound up having their preorder dates moved from late 2021 to as far as 2023. One user wrote, “I moved it from the end of my driveway to my house this morning and just looked back and it had changed to 2022-2023.” In the same conversation, another noted, “I moved the location from my barn to my house which is literally 13 feet in real-time and now I'm mid to late 2022.”
As Ars Technica notes, the map tool was always on the site, but Starlink recently made some changes to the site’s layout and also removed any mention of Starlink being in beta. The update seemed to have pushed the map tool to a more prominent location and also gave users a notification to check their location for “accuracy.” Naturally, anyone excitedly checking the status of their preorder would feel inclined to change their service location if they noticed an error.
Apparently, this type of preorder delay with Starlink isn’t a new issue either — it’s just been become more common due to the new map location. Another Reddit user says “people here have been warning others about it for nearly a year now. If you don’t already have service and move your address you go straight to the back of the line.”
Elon Musk’s vision for Starlink is a grand one, and yet, it’s small issues like these that undermine the service’s potential. Customer service issues aren’t a new thing among Musk-owned brands — Tesla is notorious for having poor customer service, and Starlink isn’t following far behind. In September, frustrated Starlink customers said that they were unable to reach the company to check the status of their orders months after their purchase.
Customers who’ve fallen victim to the temptation of moving their service area have also been contacting Starlink via 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 a response to their emails.
We reached out to SpaceX about the situation but didn’t immediately hear back.