Nearly £4million has been invested into an ambitious project to improve mobile coverage in rural areas of Scotland.
The additional £3.75million funding will be used to build nine phone masts in areas including Angus and the Highlands & Islands.
It means some rural homes and businesses will have 4G for the first time.
The investment is latest phase of the Scottish 4G Infill (S4GI) infrastructure programme.
Finance Secretary Kate Forbes, who represents Skye and Lochaber, said: “Digital connectivity is crucial to Scotland’s economic recovery and this latest investment in rural areas furthers our commitment to tackle the nation’s mobile ‘not spots’.
“As we move out of lockdown, increased mobile connectivity will help bridge the digital divide between rural and urban areas, allowing people to work more flexibly and sustainably while keeping communities safe and connected.”
The latest investment takes the total funding package for the programme, which is being delivered by WHP Telecoms, to £28.75 million.
Martyn Cheyne, WHP’s strategic development director, said the funding was “excellent news”.
He added: “By extending the programme’s reach into more communities it will bring life enhancing connectivity to residents and businesses.
“It is also a sound endorsement of the programme’s success to date, which WHP is pleased to have played a part in, and has paved the way for the Shared Rural Network.”
So far, the S4GI programme has delivered 11 masts.
By the summer of 2023, the programme is anticipated to deliver up to 55 masts across Scotland’s rural regions.