The Highland Council has announced that it has signed a contract with telecoms provider, THUS for a seven-year, £70 million project providing high capacity broadband links to schools, libraries and other council buildings throughout the Highlands and Islands.

The Highlands and Islands Pathfinder Broadband Procurement Project will deliver a high bandwidth network infrastructure to 850 sites, with a focus on providing schools with access to state-of-the art teaching and learning support. The project will be rolled out within the next two years.

Following a detailed evaluation of bids last year, The Highland Council selected THUS as preferred supplier. The contract will meet the challenges of broadband connectivity in rural locations by using a mix of fibre, wireless and copper-based connections.

Arthur McCourt, The Highland Council chief executive said: "Ensuring that local public services have access to the latest broadband technology is a vital step in modernising local government. It will provide a tremendous boost to modern learning and teaching practice and to the provision of services to the public."