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Homes and businesses in northern Scotland are set to benefit as plans for a Highlands & Islands broadband upgrade gain momentum.

According to the Stornoway Gazette, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has launched a procurement process to find a private sector partner capable of constructing a high-speed network in the region.

Last October, HIE successfully bid for the right to carry out one of four rural broadband pilot schemes, part-funded by the government.

The phased project, which will be carried out over a number of years, will test the viability of broadband technology and techniques in rural areas, while improving internet access for local homes and businesses.

Alex Paterson, chief executive of HIE, told the news provider that good communication links are "a cornerstone in growing attractive, sustainable communities in remote and rural areas".

"Having faster, reliable broadband links across the world brings with it a whole range of opportunities, both in delivering the services our communities need every day and in the ways we as a region can do business."

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