Starlink is now more than a year into offering service to customers around the world, but one topic still leaves customers confused… Is Starlink still in beta status?
In short, it depends on who you ask. But is there an actual answer? In this article we are going to do our best to objectively answer the question of the Starlink beta status.
We think it’s important to provide some context for this discussion. So first, we will dive into the tweets, the emails, the rumors, and everything related to how the beta status even became a controversial topic to begin with.
November 2020 – Public Beta Launch
Starlink public beta access started in November of 2020. Customers who had signed up for email notifications about availability began to receive communication from Starlink about ordering a beta kit.
Dubbed the “Better Than Nothing Beta”, the promised speeds and reliability were low. But rural customers with limited internet options didn’t mind. Soon, an avalanche of interested customers flocked to Starlink to order their beta kits.
Customers at this stage had no doubt they were beta testers.
In the early days of the beta program, reliability was the main concern. Customers frequently experienced minutes and sometimes an hour or more “beta downtime” each day. But with each satellite launch and firmware update, the Starlink network performance and reliability improved.
September 2021- Elon Musk Tweet
On September 17th, 2021, Elon Musk tweeted a reply to a question about when the Starlink beta would end. This tweet would see Starlink trending in the technology blogosphere. Elon Musk promises often do.
Tech journalists took this source of information and went to town. Article after article circulated around the internet, declaring an end to the Starlink beta in October 2021.
Existing customers felt optimistic about the future of the service. Potential customers felt a sense of hope that orders would be fulfilled more quickly in the coming months. Customers in areas where Starlink was not currently available could see a light at the end of the tunnel.
December 2021 – Customer Support Statement
On December 16th, 2021, a Reddit user named aboyles2002 posted a screenshot of a conversation with a Starlink customer support agent. The post was made in the popular fan-made Starlink subreddit. Someone on a Facebook Starlink group asked if Starlink was still in beta status, to which the agent replied:
At this time, we are no longer in Beta service…Frank – Starlink Customer Support
The Reddit post received hundreds of upvotes and quickly hit the subreddit’s front page.
The Elon Musk tweet was one thing. But this was completely different. For the first time, the end of the beta was communicated through official Starlink communication channels.
Confusion on Beta Status
Elon Musk set a date. Starlink customer service confirmed the end of the beta. But since December 2021, confusion on the Starlink beta status persists.
After the popular customer service screenshot, many other Reddit posts started popping up with different answers from Starlink support. On December 21st, a Redditor posted a quote from a different Starlink customer support agent regarding the beta status:
Thanks for reaching back out. To answer your question, although we are not completely out of Beta, we are trying our best to improve our product, services, and features so that when we are completely out of beta, our customers will have the best experience possible.Unknown – Starlink Customer Support
Comments on this post and many others would indicate that Starlink did not have a clear answer on whether the service was considered to be in beta or not. Some support agents said the beta period was over, others said the beta phase was still active.
If you look in the Starlink Subreddit or Facebook group, you’ll see many comments and posts with the assumption that the service is out of beta. It seems like, at this point, a flip of a coin could determine whether a customer believes it is still in beta status.
What Starlink Told Us – February 2022
We reached out to Starlink directly to see what they would say about the status of the beta. Not surprisingly, customer support confirmed that Starlink is indeed still in a beta testing phase:
April 2022 Update
In our most recent check in with Starlink, a customer support agent told us that Starlink officially ended beta in October 2021. This falls in line with the previous statement from Elon Musk, but runs contrary to other customer support agents.
In addition to this customer support statement in April 2022, Starlink has removed all references of the word “beta” from the Starlink.com website and legal documents.
Bottom Line – Is Starlink Still In Beta?
No. Out of all the sources of information that we have presented in this article, our opinion is that it really depends on what you define as beta testing. Officially, Starlink has removed all mention of “beta” off it’s website. In the background, some customer support will tell customers that the service is still in beta testing status, while others say the beta ended months ago.
In our view, Starlink meets the definition of beta because it isn’t fully deployed. Access is restricted. Performance and specifications change rapidly with no notice. The current customers are indeed testing out the system that isn’t in any kind of final production form.
But no matter what you believe, at least now you’ve seen the information and have the whole story.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below!