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The one per cent of people north of the border who cannot enjoy the benefits of a reliable broadband connection have been given a major boost.

Over 3,800 homes and businesses in remote areas of Scotland could soon receive broadband coverage, thanks to a cash commitment from the Scottish government.

A £3.3 million contract has been awarded to Avanti Communications, who are charged with the responsibility of delivering the service to Scotland's isolated few, in outposts such as Orkney and the Isle of Skye.

The company will use a mixture of different technologies based on satellite and wireless networks.

Scottish enterprise minister Jim Mather told the BBC: "In this 21st Century, as many people as possible should have broadband access. It is a vital tool for business, helping drive economic growth, and is now used by ever more households as standard."

Work is scheduled to begin next month and should be completed by May 2009.

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