“The company is treating its customers as people, a clearly unsustainable business model,” concludes a leaked internal report outlining the first round of Starlink’s beta testing.
Starlink, a subsidiary of Elon Musk’s SpaceX, aims to bring high-speed internet across the globe via a constellation of low-orbit satellites, many of which have already been launched. The company is almost two months into its beta tests, and numerous testers have expressed high levels of satisfaction with the product. However, a critical flaw in the business model has been uncovered in a leaked report cataloguing the performance of the beta test.
“Our top competitors in the high-speed internet market (Comcast, AT&T, Spectrum etc.) have optimized atrocious customer service to the point where people have come to expect a certain level of torment when dealing with customer representatives,” said the internal report, which was intended only for high-level executives. “Our service lacks this fundamental feature, which if left absent could crush customer adoption.”
The report was first leaked on Telegram to subscribers to a popular SpaceX newsfeed. The identity of the leaker has not been confirmed, but securities analysts are saying that the damage to the brand has already been done.
“The big internet providers have spent decades building their business on top of unforgiving customer service and convoluted billing and contracts to support their reputation as devious thieves,” said Barclays Telecommunications Analyst James DeMarco, “If Starlink’s service does not plan on including inflicting pain and robbing its customers, it is highly unlikely they will survive in this cutthroat market.”
Starlink executives did not respond to media inquiries on the link, but a short message was posted to their homepage following the news.
“We are saddened by the unplanned release of a draft internal report highlighting some of the challenges we are overcoming with our beta test. That said, we remain firmly committed to bringing high-speed internet to the world. Rest assured, our engineers are working on the deficiencies our beta test has uncovered and we will include the painful and confusing service experience that our customers have come to expect of their internet service provider.”