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Charles Kennedy has insisted that the remote communities situated in the Highlands of Scotland should be among the first to benefit from BT's planned fibre-optic broadband.

The former leader of the Liberal Democrats has told the Scottish government that residents in the northernmost region of the UK deserve to see an improvement to their broadband networks.

Kennedy, the MP for by Ross, Skye and Lochaber, pointed out that small businesses in the area were suffering from slow connection speeds.

He told Scotland's Press and Journal: "BT looks set to press ahead with substantial investment to replace copper cabling with fibre-optics, allowing dramatically increased connection speeds over longer distances.

"I want the Scottish government to make sure Highland communities are at the front, and not the back, of the queue when the network is being renewed."

Earlier in the year, Avanti Caledonian Broadband won a £3.3 million deal from the Scottish government to provide broadband to the one per cent of the country currently unconnected.

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