Starlink’s satellite broadband hit with service complaints

Satellite dish

Starlink’s satellite broadband service, owned and operated by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, may be suffering from its own success as a number of customers have registered complaints over long deposit periods and an inability to contact customer service representatives.

Starlink, which relies on satellites much closer to Earth than standard satellite internet services, is able to deliver fast broadband to rural and remote areas where connectivity is traditionally difficult. 

After seeing success in these areas, Starlink has also opened its service to those who wish to connect in cities and urban areas, with the fast connectivity promised by Starlink rivalling that offered by traditional wired broadband. 

While Starlink has seen impressive growth and support, recent reports have shown the company may have bit off more than it can chew with some customers being left in the dark for up to a year after making a deposit to access the service. 

Reportedly, a number of customers who have made deposits to secure access to Starlink have since received no updates from the company as to the status of their order, or if the broadband service is even currently in operation in their area. 

This issue has been compounded by the fact that Starlink fails to offer a traditional customer service contact form on its site, with no email or phone number for the disgruntled customers to get in touch with to discuss their issues.

Instead, Starlink opts for a support page that comprises a list of frequently asked questions that users of the service may be facing. This has left users unable to contact the company directly to query the status of their order, and has made it difficult for customers left without an order fulfilment date to request a refund of their deposit.

Starlink has previously sent emails to a number of customers who had pre ordered last year, apologising for shipping delays and indicating that silicon shortages due to the pandemic had lengthened production times for the connection kit required for customers to get online. 

The company still says that kits are delivered within each connection area on a ‘first come first served’ basis, meaning those that have been waiting longer periods of time should expect to receive their order before any new sign-ups, so long as they’re in the same area of coverage.

On another front, Elon Musk has offered Starlink’s help in the aftermath of the Tongan underwater volcanic eruption that has left the island nation without internet. Musk indicated the assistance would be a difficult process for Starlink, but may be able to assist in restoring internet connectivity across Tonga - a process that may currently take as long as a month. 

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Last updated 22 July 2024