A further £15.6 million is to be invested in superfast broadband in Scotland, after interest in the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project exceeded expectations.
The funding will be used to target areas of the country currently suffering with the slowest broadband speeds, including the Scottish Borders, Stirling, Galloway and Aberdeenshire.
Take-up of the programme has been strong and Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said he is "delighted" with the progress that has been made.
"Thanks to the higher than expected uptake of our Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme more premises than originally planned will now have the opportunity to benefit from investment in reliable and speedy broadband services."
He explained that by December 2018 every local authority in the area covered by the project will have superfast broadband coverage of at least 85 per cent, giving homes and businesses access to speeds of at least 24Mbps.
This ties in with the broader commitment of ensuring complete superfast broadband coverage by 2020. Some areas are already close to this target - Aberdeen has 94.9 per cent coverage at present - but research conducted in 2016 by Audit Scotland showed many of the most challenging areas to hook up to a high speed network - which are mainly rural - are yet to be connected.
Mr Mackay argued the government's investment in high speed broadband is clearly making a difference across the north-east of Scotland, helping to support jobs and livelihoods across the region.