A Scottish rural fibre firm has secured a further £20 million to help connect 100,000 rural homes to ultrafast fibre broadband.

Lothian Broadband Networks (LBN) will use the cash from The Scottish National Investment Bank to complete this phase of expansion by the end of 2024.

The bank originally provided cornerstone funding of £20 million to LBN in last year.

Gavin Rodgers, chief executive of LBN said: “This new funding from the bank takes our overall investment capacity for the year ahead up to £50m.

“This further support from the bank highlights our effectiveness at working with our partners in government and local communities to transform connectivity in rural Scotland.”

It is hoped the funding support will help develop a rural digital economy by increasing connectivity in areas of Scotland that would be unlikely to get access to a gigabit capable network.

LBN is currently building full-fibre XGS-PON networks throughout the Highlands, East Lothian and Fife.

So far, more than 10,000 premises throughout rural Scotland have access to the state-of-the-art broadband.

The technology being installed has the capability to support up to 10Gb symmetrical connectivity, currently the fastest and most reliable network being built anywhere in the UK.

Residents in these areas can purchase competitively priced packages with speeds of up to 2Gbps through LBN’s retail brands Lothian Broadband and Highland Broadband.

Nicola Douglas, executive director at the bank said: “Ultrafast broadband has a transforming impact, boosting economic growth, reducing inequalities, and helping education.

“Our investment in LBN is already making a difference for both rural businesses and homes and by supporting this state-of-the-art fibre roll out we are future proofing the network.”

A vibrant rural digital economy and increased connectivity can also help reduce car journeys by allowing people to work from home and assist a just transition to net zero by 2045.

The UK Government has a target of at least 85 per cent of the population having access to gigabit (1,000 Mbps) broadband by 2025 under its national infrastructure strategy.