More than a dozen local authority areas across Scotland will soon have access to superfast broadband under the Digital Scotland initiative.
Around 39,000 businesses and homes north of the border are expected to be affected by the plans for the rollout of fibre optic broadband.
While some of the areas will see their current broadband provision expanded, for others it will be their first time accessing high speed internet at home or in work.
Digital Scotland is publicly-funded and comprises two projects, one of which covers the Islands and Highlands and the other the rest of the mainland.
Deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon said that delivering fibre broadband to Scotland’s rural areas is a bigger challenge than in any other part of the UK.
She called the announcement “fantastic news” and said the rollout will make certain areas more economically viable in the years to come.
Speaking about the rollout, Stephen Hagan of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities said it was indicative of the shrinking divide between urban and rural areas. Further, he explained that communities all over the country have asserted that having access to quality broadband services is one of their top priorities.
In 2013, 32 councils in Scotland agreed to pool more than £90m – alongside £20m from the EU – in an effort to launch the project.
The announcement is likely to be welcomed by the country’s online businesses and search engine optimisation specialists in particular, as the wider broadband access could potentially lead to increases in website traffic and, ultimately, local sales.