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More than 150,000 homes and businesses in rural Scotland have gained access to fibre broadband as a result of the Digital Scotland rollout.

Fibre delivered under the £410 million programme is now available in 120 locations across the country, including Kemnay in Aberdeenshire, Scone in Perthshire, Sumburgh on Shetland, Leuchars in Fife, Milton of Leys in Inverness and Selkirk in the Scottish Borders.

More premises are being passed by Openreach all the time, as the rollout of next-generation networks continues across the Scottish countryside.

To date, engineers have laid around 300km of sub-sea cable and 2,400km of cable on land, installing 600 street cabinets in the process.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the rollout of super-fast broadband will allow more households to connect to fibre broadband services for the first time.

It will also give businesses the opportunity to enhance their services, she stated.

"This is the fastest rollout of its kind anywhere in the UK, passing 150,000 premises in record time - an engineering feat of the kind for which Scotland is renowned," Ms Sturgeon stated.

"We are still in the early stages, but already thousands of Scottish homes and businesses are able to take advantage and sign up. They simply wouldn’t have had access to high-speed technology without this ambitious partnership project."

She added that the programme is "fundamental" to the Scottish Government’s aim to deliver "world-class connectivity" by 2020.

The Digital Scotland rollout consists of two projects - one covering the Highlands and Islands area and the other the rest of Scotland.

More than 30,000 premises are now passed in Highlands and Islands, along with 120,000 elsewhere in the country.

Both projects are being delivered by BT - through its Openreach infrastructure arm - as part of a £126 million investment in the public/private deployment programme.

BT Scotland’s Fibre Programme Director Liz Mallinson said the rollout projects constitute "a massive civil engineering challenge" for her company.

She explained that a lot of the early work has been in planning, surveying and building central infrastructure.

Ms Mallinson added that it has been "a remarkable achievement" to see fibre broadband services already reaching 150,000 homes and business premises in more than 120 communities.

"Hand in hand with our commercial rollout, it means around 1.4 million Scots can now access fibre broadband on the Openreach network," she noted.

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