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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 January 2008, 01:33 GMT
Broadband roll-out going 'well'
A woman using a laptop computer
The new service aims to help schools and rural communities
Work to deliver broadband internet connections across the Highlands and Islands is "progressing well" following warnings of delays and extra expense.

In November, an official report said the 70m flagship government project to provide faster services was six months behind schedule and 1.6m over budget.

However, Highland Council said 111 of the 452 sites to be connected by 2009 had now been completed.

It expects those remaining to be live within the original time frame.

Pathfinder North is also being rolled out in Argyll and Bute, Moray, Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles.

The problems were highlighted in a report to councillors on Highland's resources committee.

The previous Scottish Executive administration committed more than 60m to the project.

'Work hard'

Five local authorities joined forces to contribute 9m, but Highland Council has had to find an extra 1.6m.

The authority has now said it has agreed a schedule with telecoms company Thus plc to deliver the remaining sites within the original two-year roll-out period, and that work is progressing well.

The 111 sites connected so far include the first in Argyll and Bute, which went live before Christmas.

Highland Council said the first sites in Shetland go live later this month and in Orkney in February.

In a statement released to BBC Scotland, the local authority said: "The partnership continues to work hard to meet agreed target dates to deliver the benefits this project will bring to children, schools, and the wider community through the roll-out of high speed broadband access."

SEE ALSO
Delays in key broadband project
29 Nov 07 |  Highlands and Islands
70m broadband project launched
27 Mar 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Broadband could bring 3bn boost
21 Jan 07 |  South of Scotland
32m broadband link deal agreed
03 Nov 06 |  South of Scotland
Remote community gets broadband
28 Aug 06 |  North East/N Isles

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