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Fibre broadband is coming to another 43 locations north of the border, in the next phase of the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband rollout.

Parts of the Outer Hebrides, Mull and the Isle of Bute are among those set to benefit from next-generation broadband for the first time.

Around 54,000 more households and businesses will have the opportunity to sign up for super-fast services, with the first connections expected to go live in summer 2015.

The £410 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband partnership has already brought fibre broadband to more than 216,000 premises across the country.

And with BT's local network business Openreach continuing deployment work, this figure is rising all the time.

John Swinney, Deputy First Minister of Scotland, said the rollout project is seeing "growing momentum", as homes and businesses from Lerwick in Shetland to Gretna in Dumfries and Galloway gain access to fibre.

"The project is developing a high-speed fibre network which is changing the face of broadband and helping fulfil the Scottish Government’s commitment to deliver world-class connectivity by 2020," he stated.

"We’re reaching out to those who would not have been covered through the commercial market - in cities, in towns and into some of our most rural areas. The connections will bring benefits to the Scottish people at home and in business."

Brendan Dick, Director of BT Scotland, said the completion of its "massive" sub-sea cable laying programme has allowed the firm to make early inroads into delivering fibre for a number of island communities.

This means fibre broadband is arriving in remote parts of the country "well ahead of schedule", he noted.

"It’s great to see this progress when we’re still in the relatively early stages of the Digital Scotland partnership," Mr Dick stated.

He explained that BT's network passed around 10,000 new Scottish homes and businesses every week last year, and more communities will be reached over the course of 2015.

"We’re very pleased to be playing our part to help connect the nation to fast fibre broadband and we know there’s still a lot to do," Mr Dick added.

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