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Scotland is outpacing the rest of the UK when it comes to rolling out fibre broadband, the Scottish government has said.

The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) has connected more than 800,000 premises to fibre broadband, with 34,000 connections taking place in the last six months.

This means the initiative is on course to meets its target of 95 per cent by the end of 2017.

"Last year, we made faster progress than any other part of the UK," said Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing.

However, he stressed that these upgrades are not automatic, which means more people must check whether they are eligible on the DSSB website and contact a service provider to start receiving faster broadband.

Mr Ewing went on to insist that despite recent successes, the Scottish government will not become complacent about the issue of digital connectivity.

"I am aware that those who do not have access are at a disadvantage and our job is not done until everyone is connected," he commented.

"We are now focussing on the next steps to achieve 100 per cent coverage by 2021."

Mr Ewing added that a fast internet connection is "vital to the economic and social wellbeing of our rural communities, supporting businesses and improving lives of local people".

Matt Hancock, the UK's Digital Minister, said he is delighted that the DSSB scheme is proceeding well in Scotland.

Nevertheless, he acknowledged that more needs to be done to ensure nobody is left behind.

"We know just how important broadband is in the digital age, and we'll continue to support Digital Scotland delivering on the ground so that by 2020 everyone in Scotland, and the rest of the UK,  will have access to a fast, reliable and affordable internet connection," Mr Hancock said.

Robert Thorburn, Openreach's Digital Partnership Director for Scotland, added that it is working "flat out" to bring high-speed fibre broadband to as many Scottish communities and households.

He said good progress is being made and noted it is "fantastic" to be reaching smaller communities in particular, such as Gairloch, Drummore and Ballantrae.

Mr Thorburn added that about one in three homes and businesses have upgraded to fibre so far, which means there is "plenty of scope for more Scots to benefit from these much faster speeds".

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