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A government project to deliver fast broadband to areas in the Scottish highlands has run into difficulties.

The £70 million Pathfinder North project is intended to improve broadband access in Argyll and Bute, Moray, Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles.

However, it has now been revealed that the area of the project covered by the Highland Council has overrun its budget by £1.6 million and is six months behind schedule.

The delays have been attributed to telecoms company Thus (formerly Demon Internet) experiencing problems in gaining access to hilltop sites on which to position radio masts, BBC Online reports.

This has meant that just 21 of the scheduled 67 sites that Pathfinder North was to have connected by September have been completed.

The majority of the funding (£60 milllion) for Pathfinder North came from the Scottish Executive, with the remainder pooled by five local authorities.

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