Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure Alex Neil has announced a £120m investment for the roll out of next generation broadband across the Highlands and Islands.
The funding puts the Highlands and Islands on track to deliver the largest and most challenging rural broadband project in the UK.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has developed the ambitious project and by bringing together the expertise and investment of both the private and public sectors it aims to roll out a service which will change the face of the region.
Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of HIE, said: "Businesses and communities will see benefits where they matter most including in education, in supporting healthcare services and by opening up new markets. Our aim is for all parts of the Highlands and Islands to benefit and this news brings us a step closer to our goal."
HIE is currently in negotiation with BT, as sole bidder, to deliver a contract across all local authority areas in the Highlands and Islands region. Detailed costs and timescales for each phase of the project will be the subject of negotiation. However, HIE currently anticipates that total costs are likely to fall somewhere in the range between £200m and £300m.
If negotiations are successful, HIE anticipates signing contracts by August 2012.