The Scottish Government said every home and business in Scotland will have access to superfast broadband by 2021 as a result of a £600 million investment.
The announcement, made as part of the Scottish Government’s 2018-19 draft budget, marks the start of procurement for the Reaching 100% (R100) programme which will deliver fast and reliable internet, with a particular focus on rural and island communities.
The capital investment package is being made over the next four financial years to March 2022.
The Scottish Government’s Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme is on track to reach 95% fibre broadband coverage by the end of this year – with further progress being delivered throughout 2018.
Rural Economy and Connectivity Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “This is the biggest public investment ever made in a UK broadband project.
“It is a truly transformative moment for our broadband infrastructure and a statement of our intent to make Scotland a world-class digital nation.
“Fast and reliable internet connection is vital for the economic and social wellbeing of all communities.
“This ambitious investment – which is more than three times what the UK Government is putting towards their own fibre broadband rollout – will revitalise the prospects of rural areas right across Scotland.
“Building on the success of the Digital Scotland programme, we will deliver a future-proofed, national fibre network that will place rural Scotland among the best connected places anywhere in Europe.
“I am confident that the scale of our investment, and of our ambition, will attract interest from a wide range of telecoms suppliers across the UK and Europe.”
Finance Secretary Derek Mackay added: “I was pleased to use this year’s budget to set out our plans for the future of superfast broadband in Scotland.
“We will put in the money over the next four years to deliver a £600 million programme of investment, ensuring every home or business premise in Scotland has access to superfast broadband.”