SpaceX has apologized to customers for the delays in delivering their Internet Starlink kit.
In a message Posted on Twitter on Tuesday, November 23, SpaceX said silicon shortages over the past six months have impacted its expected production rate and affected its ability to fulfill “many” Starlink orders.
“We apologize for the delay and are working hard in our engineering, supply chain and production teams to improve and streamline our product and factory to increase our production rate,” the company said in its message.
Online forums contain many posts from customers disappointed to see their delivery times cut by up to a year, with some being told not to expect delivery until the end of 2022 or even the beginning of 2023. Additional complaints came from customers who saw their original shipping dates suddenly be delayed by a year or more after responding to a message on Starlink’s website asking them to update their service location on a map.
Starlink, which transmits the Internet to customers’ homes from SpaceX satellites deployed in low Earth orbit, is currently available in 20 countries. In the United States, people were able to pre-order the broadband service with a payment of $ 99. The total cost is $ 549 ($ 499 for hardware and $ 50 for shipping and handling), plus a monthly payment of $ 99 for the Internet service itself.
Customers who are tired of waiting for their delayed shipment can get a full refund, including their down payment.
The company said anyone who has pre-ordered the service can check estimated delivery times by signing into their account through the Starlink website. When a customer’s Starlink kit is ready to ship, the company will send an email confirming it’s on the way.
SpaceX said it recently released a new version of Starlink designed for high volume manufacturing. The new kit performs comparable to the original version and will start shipping worldwide next year, the company said.
SpaceX launched a beta version of Starlink in the United States in October 2020. It now serves customers in Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, Austria, France, Netherlands , in Belgium, in Denmark, in Ireland, in Switzerland, in Portugal, in Chile, in Poland. , Italy, the Czech Republic, Mexico, Sweden and Croatia and, by August, had shipped more than 100,000 Starlink terminals worldwide.
Starlink is expected to launch in 45 additional countries by the end of 2022, pending regulatory approval.
The shortage of silicon – an essential component of semiconductors – has been caused by a multitude of problems. The coronavirus pandemic, for example, has led to an increase in demand for semiconductors after people rushed to buy devices to work from home. Semiconductor manufacturing plants have also temporarily closed in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus and protect workers, putting additional strain on the supply chain.
Because of these pressures, SpaceX is just one of many companies around the world affected by the silicon shortage.