Survey work on subsea cables to supply superfast broadband to 15 Scottish islands including Fair Isle, Unst, Whalsay and Yell will begin this spring.
The contract is part of the Scottish government’s £600 million “Reaching 100%” programme”, of which £384m covers the “North Lot” areas.
The other islands involved are Colonsay, Iona and Lismore in Argyll and Bute, Eigg in the Highlands and Eday, Flotta, Hoy, Rousay, Sanday, Shapinsay and Stronsay in Orkney.
After survey vessels have completed their groundwork, the main cable laying is expected to begin in spring 2022.
Scottish energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “The role of digital connectivity in our everyday lives has never been clearer as we tackle the pandemic.
“The new subsea cables will ensure these 15 island communities have access to reliable connections. It will help improve the quality of life for both current and future islanders, while also benefiting visitors once inbound tourism can safely return.”