It comes after Openreach, the separate network arm of BT, outlined plans to build full-fibre broadband to at least three million more homes and businesses – including some 300,000 in Scotland
More than 160 exchange areas across Scotland will be upgraded, with locations including Fort William, Oban, Turriff, Carstairs and Stranraer set to benefit from what will be a nationwide, five-year feat of civil engineering, the firm said.
Island communities such as Brodick on Arran, Portree on Skye, Stornoway, Kirkwall and Lerwick are also included, with more than 60,000 households and businesses set to benefit across the Highlands and Islands.
The announcement expands on Openreach’s existing nationwide build plans, which already include hundreds of thousands more premises in 100 other Scottish cities, towns and villages.
The updated build plan follows an extended investment commitment by BT Group, which means that Openreach will now build full-fibre technology to a total of 25 million UK premises.
Robert Thorburn, Openreach Scotland’s strategic infrastructure director, said: “Building a new broadband network across Scotland is a massive challenge and some parts of the country will inevitably require further public funding.
“But our expanded build plan means any future taxpayer subsidies can be limited to only the hardest to connect homes and businesses. And with investments from other builders, we’d hope to see that shrink further.
“The impact of full-fibre broadband – stretching from increased economic prosperity and international competitiveness to higher employment and environmental benefits – will be a massive boost for Scotland and the rest of the UK.”
He added: “We’ll publish further location details and timescales on our website as detailed surveys and planning are completed and the build progresses. In the meantime, people can also check what’s already available – which includes around 400,000 homes and businesses across Scotland that can already access full fibre on the Openreach network.”
Economy Secretary Kate Forbes added: “This is good news for Scotland. The rollout of ultrafast broadband to so many more rural communities is vitally important, especially as we focus on recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.”