Senior politicians at Aberdeenshire Council have welcomed a Scottish Government commitment to provide faster broadband coverage.
Described as “one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects in the whole of Europe,” it will see £264 million investment across the country.
Hundreds of thousands of households and businesses across Scotland are set to get high-speed fibre broadband under the Step Change project.
It will be delivered by BT, which is investing £106.7m in the partnership, and is being led by the Scottish Government working together with local authorities and Broadband Delivery UK in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
The new project will ensure that 85 per cent of Scottish properties have access to fibre broadband by the end of 2015 and around 95 per cent by the end of 2017.
Aberdeenshire Council is investing £16 million in the project with an emphasis on those areas within the region with the lowest broadband speeds or none at all.
This investment will ensure that fibre broadband will reach parts of Aberdeenshire that would otherwise miss out, thereby future-proofing the most rural premises.
The investment is expected to take overall fibre coverage in Aberdeenshire to nearly 90% of premises from a starting point of only 25% - the lowest commercial coverage of any local authority covered by the project.
Leader of Aberdeenshire Council, Councillor Jim Gifford, said: “We conducted a survey across Aberdeenshire earlier this year that showed 98.6% of respondents would be interested in subscribing to a faster broadband service. We’re also conscious that 17% of addresses have no broadband at all.
“This is why Aberdeenshire Council is investing £16million in the Step Change Project.
‘‘We believe this will bring significant improvements across Aberdeenshire as people gain access to faster broadband.”