Neighbouring municipalities hope to join Annapolis County when it comes to high-speed internet projects in Nova Scotia.

"Annapolis County is ahead of the curve," said Peter Muttart, mayor of the Municipality of the County of Kings. "I congratulate them."

The Municipality of the County of Annapolis announced Tuesday it plans to borrow $13 million to install a fibre-optic system. The loan would be paid back over time by the internet provider, Mainland Telecom, and its customers.

The municipality has also applied for $4.1 million in federal and provincial funding.

18 month timeline

John Ferguson, CAO for Annapolis, said it's hoped four crews will begin working on the project this summer.

"We believe from start to finish, once we get on the ground, it'll take 18 months," he said.

Ferguson said he believes the move will help Annapolis County attract and retain people.

"You'll be able to be connected to the rest of the world with some of the highest speeds that you can find in Canada," said Ferguson. "And still have a rural way of life."

Kings County has also applied for funding from Ottawa and the province with the hope of getting started this year.

"Our professional advice is that we can supply 65 per cent of our rural population with high-speed internet," said Muttart.

Joint application

The Municipality of the District of Digby is part of a joint application with four other municipalities in southwestern Nova Scotia for a federal internet grant: Argyle, Barrington, Clare and Yarmouth.

It was made through the Western Regional Enterprise Network.

"We're also open to partnering with other municipalities," said Angelique LeBlanc, network CEO. "It depends on who is able to get federal funds."

The municipalities could form a municipal corporation to borrow the money needed but they have not yet partnered with an internet provider.

LeBlanc expects a number of decisions to be made this year, with construction happening in 2018.