FIBRE optic broadband will be rolled out to more than 39,000 homes and businesses in the latest stage of a £410 million project.
Communities in 13 local authority areas from Aberdeenshire to Dumfries and Galloway will benefit from high-speed services by this summer as part of the Digital Scotland superfast broadband scheme.
Some places - such as Bridge of Allan, Castle Douglas, Findhorn, Fochabers and Kintore - will receive the technology for the first time while in others more properties will be connected to existing fibre broadband.
Areas in the Highlands and Islands that will benefit from the scheme - including Inverness-shire and Moray - were revealed last October.
The latest announcement outlines the first places that will be connected in the second part of the project covering the rest of Scotland, as well as further locations in the Highlands and Islands.
More than 750,000 properties are expected to benefit from the Digital Scotland project.
Telecommunications giant BT is investing £126 million in the scheme, with additional funding from the Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport, local authorities and the European Regional Development Fund.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the latest roll-out was an important milestone.
“The scale of the challenge of delivering fibre broadband into rural Scotland is greater than any other part of the UK and indeed, much of Europe,” she said.
“It’s fantastic news that many rural communities and businesses, from the Highlands to the Borders, will soon begin to see the benefits of high-quality digital connectivity, making them more economically viable in the long term.”
Councillor Stephen Hagan, spokesman on the issue for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla), said: “Local communities across Scotland, especially in rural areas, have been loud and clear that better-speed broadband services were a top priority for them, and for that reason all 32 Scottish councils agreed last year to pool over £90 million to deliver this project alongside European Union funding of more than £20 million.”
BT Scotland director Brendan Dick said: “Today is a major step forward in a journey that will transform the communications landscape of rural Scotland and help develop prosperous local economies.
“Our engineers have been working hard behind the scenes with colleagues in local and national Government to get us to this point.”
UK Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said: “The £100.8 million that the UK Government has provided to Digital Scotland will help take superfast broadband to some of the most remote locations in the country, who would otherwise be left in the digital slow lane.
“The UK already does more business online than any other European country and widespread access to superfast speeds will provide a welcome boost to the Scottish economy.”