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A broadband and mobile data performance rating for properties is a fine idea – but it must be done properly

Barry Collins is a former editor of PC Pro and doesn’t miss the days of hanging out of a bedroom window to catch a passing 3G signal. @bazzacollins

About 15 years ago, I woke up to a hissing sound. I’m used to people hissing when I’m talking, but when I’m sleeping? That was new.

I spent a bleary-eyed 15 minutes wandering around my newly bought home, trying to work out where the noise was coming from. Eventually I tracked it down to the hot-water tank, where a small jet of water was soaking the assorted bed linen, odd socks and Christmas decorations that are kept in airing cupboards by law.

It was a bank holiday weekend, so after the plumber had worked out precisely how much extra he was going to charge me, he set about stopping the leak before issuing a few words that can’t be repeated here.

“What’s the matter?” I asked, wary I was being charged £80 per expletive.

“Your tank,” he replied. “It’s propped up on nothing more than a thin bit of chipboard. And that’s soaking wet. You’re about to find out what a water tank crashing into your TV sounds like unless we drain this pronto.” Suffice to say, it was an expensive weekend.

What narked me most about our unwanted new water feature was that, no more than a year beforehand, I’d been forced to pay a surveyor a few hundred quid to give the property the once-over. You’d have thought they might have noticed that the water tank was effectively levitating, but no. I checked the report again. All clear.

I was reminded of this recently when analyst firm CCS Insight delivered its annual tech predictions: one of them was that, by 2025, a “connectivity performance rating” would become mandatory for the sale of any property in a major European market. Similar to the Energy Performance Certificate that we already have here in the UK, this would tell prospective buyers how good indoor and outdoor mobile reception is for each of the major operators, as well as providing the current and expected status for full-fibre broadband.

What a good idea! As long as it’s not conducted in the half-arsed way the surveyor did my house. (Resist the temptation to write in, surveyors – you can’t bill me for it.)

For starters, it’s a waste of time if the performance ratings are based on mobile networks’ own coverage maps. These are the greatest works of fiction since Don Quixote. I can tel

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