MORE than 90,000 homes and businesses are to get fibre broadband in the latest phase of a £410 million project.

Communities in 18 local authority areas will benefit from the high-speed service by this winter under the next stage of the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme.

Most of those communities, such as Macduff, Glamis, Kirkwall, Annan, Kinglassie and Portmahomack, will receive the high-speed technology for the first time.

Loading article content

Others, such as Dalgety Bay, Drumchapel, Culloden and Prestwick, will see additional premises connected to existing broadband technology.

Around 55,000 homes and businesses already have access to fibre broadband through the Digital Scotland initiative. Eventually, more than 750,000 properties are expected to benefit from the scheme.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "Today marks another important milestone for the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband partnership. The scale of the challenge of delivering fibre broadband across Scotland is greater than any other part of the UK and indeed, much of Europe.

"However, this is not the limit of Scotland's ambition. The Scottish Government's aim is to deliver world-class connectivity by 2020."

Combined with commercial roll-out plans, around 85 per cent of premises in Scotland are expected to have access to fibre broadband by the end of 2015-16 and 95 per cent by the end of 2017-18.

Telecommunications firm BT is investing £126m in the Digital Scotland scheme, with additional funding from the Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the UK Government, local authorities and the European Regional Development Fund.