Your emails: Is Labour’s free broadband a good idea?

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Friday’s arrived and that means we’ve once again trawled the emails from our excellent readers to find and answer your burning tech questions – back on time this week.

Make sure to check back every Friday lunchtime for our letters to the editor – and get involved by sending your emails to We’ll feature the best on this very page at the end of each week, with Nick’s and the team’s replies.

Fast and furious

I read the story about Labour promising free fibre based broadband to everyone in the UK and while the idea of free broadband is nice, and high speed internet connectivity is a good idea, surely there’s no need in this day and age to run government owned, expensive cables into everyone’s houses to do it. 5G is just around the corner and SpaceX has just launched the first batch of its Starlink satellite constellation – so isn’t this idea, well meaning as it is, a bit of a (hugely expensive) white elephant?

— Frank Parsons

Nick says: a while ago, back in the days of dial-up Net connections via copper phone lines, I remember writing a column arguing for exactly what Labour is proposing now, because I naively thought that home PCs – then the only way to get online – would never get fast broadband if the government didn’t mandate it. And hey, fast connections to home PCs were obviously the future.

Well, I was wrong about that. We’ve done well enough since then by letting the tech and phone companies figure it out – I think we should let them get on with it. And there’s even faster speeds just around the corner, as you say, which suggests the system is working well enough as it is.

Of course there are many other issues surrounding the tech companies that do need looking at but I’m not convinced a nationalised broadband network is anyone’s best use of £20 billion or £40billion, to be honest. But what do our readers think? Write in and let us know.

Which Samsung TV?

Hi, having read your reviews on Samsung UE48h6700 from 2014 and Samsung Q80R from this year would the Q80R be a good replacement or should I go for Q70R?

 — Ken

Of the two, we preferred the Samsung Q80R but (depending on where you shop) it’s about £200 more expensive than the Q70R. But unless you are very discerning, and really care about Dolby Vision, either are good choices.

S8 too late?

Hello, I watched and read Max Parker’s review of the Samsung S8 today because it has a date stamp of April 2019. I assumed that it had been updated from his original review.

But despite the date and the new subtitle, the content is still from back when the phone was released. What gives? Not good.

— Rob

That’s because we tend to appraise old phones in new contexts in different articles. So check out our more recent guides to how the S8 compared to the S9, and how the S8 compared to the S10. Unfortunately our site does not currently make it easy for us to show these more recent articles against the original review, although that should be improving soon.

Kap’s not worthy

I disagree that Kaspersky Free Antivirus has a low impact on system resources (see your Kaspersky review here). I run an Intel Core I with 4GB of RAM which has always started quickly.

Ever since I started using Kaspersky, Windows has taken several minutes to load to an active desktop. It was almost like watching paint dry waiting for the program or folder icons to change in turn from a blank white sheet  to the full colour icon with the name below.

If I opened Windows Explorer to find files in a folder, Downloads for example, it would take 15-20 seconds to load the files and show the list. 

Software would take a long time to load as well, even small programs like Solitaire. I have uninstalled Kaspersky Free Antivirus and my system has returned to its former state, with fast loadup to the desktop.

— Martin

Thanks for letting us know. That sounds a little like a RAM issue to us. 4GB of RAM isn’t a vast amount these days – you are at minimum levels really – and with Kaspersky requiring 1GB of RAM to itself, plus Windows 10 needing another 2GB on top, that doesn’t leave a lot for any applications you have running. We’d suggest a RAM upgrade – or stick with the default Windows Defender, which is pretty good.

Hunting high and low

A short while ago, I did a Google search for dishwashers. One of the results was a review of the Miele G 6820 SC on your website.

I wondered if you had any other reviews for Miele dishwashers, so whilst on your website, entered Miele dishwasher into your search engine but it seemed to return anything but a Miele dishwasher (not even the one in your review), and I didn’t fancy scrolling through 42 pages of results.

Another machine I’d shortlisted was the Miele G 6630 SC but the 1403 page search result seemed somewhat daunting.

I was beginning to wonder if your search engine was actually working correctly, so to test it, from the said review webpage, I used copy and paste and input the exact title of your review (Miele G 6820 SC Review) into your search engine … and it returned 2641 pages – indeed, the very first item it returned was an iPhone SE Review!

So how is one supposed to locate a product on your website (without resorting to Google)?

If nothing else, I thought you might want to be aware of this problem.

— Bob

We are unfortunately very aware of the problem. It’s because of how data is stored in our database. The good news is we are replacing this system at the start of February, so the site search should become much more usable from then. But making this change is quite complicated, hence the time.

That’s it for another week. Thanks again to all the people who emailed in, and keep emailing in to continue the conversation.

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