THE Leader of the Highland Council, Councillor Drew Hendry, has welcomed a Scottish Government investment of £120 million in the delivery of superfast broadband to communities across the Highlands and Islands.
He said: "This is tremendous news for the Highlands and will significantly move forward the delivery of broadband across the region. I welcome the specific commitment to rural and remote communities, who may have missed out previously, to ensure they benefit this time round."
He said high-speed digital connectivity is an essential part of Scotland’s 21st-century infrastructure – an enabler of both economic and community benefits.
Superfast, or next generation broadband (NGB), would aid the sustainability and growth of fragile communities, not least by improving remote delivery of public services.
It would also enable new forms of remote working, remote education opportunities and lifestyle choice in rural communities.
Alex Neil, cabinet secretary for infrastructure and capital investment, said the funding will ensure homes and businesses across some of Scotland’s most rural areas could get the benefits of next generation broadband for the very first time.
The Highlands and Islands, with the help of public investment, already have basic broadband provision to around 99 per cent of premises.
Mr Neil said the investment will mean Highlands and Islands Enterprise, which is in discussion with BT, can roll out a programme to deliver world-class connectivity for the region.
This will call for a broad range of technical solutions, for example, by laying underground cables and in some cases, subsea cables to connect island communities.