Funding is set to expire soon on a federal program that's been helping hundreds of thousands of New Jersey families afford their internet bills on a monthly basis.

Officials are calling on Congress to keep internet service affordable for millions across the country by voting to extend funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program.

Through the program, homes are getting up to $30 per month for their internet service. Some eligible households also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a device such as a laptop or tablet.

With a $14.2 billion budget, the ACP is the largest broadband affordability initiative in the nation's history.

It's been around since 2021, but it's not meant to help residents forever.

"The money expires probably by April of this year," said Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J. 6th District. "They've already stopped taking .... new applicants, just a couple weeks ago."

Pallone is part of bipartisan legislation, the Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act, that would provide $7 billion to extend the initiative. He recently held an event in Red Bank with state and federal officials, to promote the need for an extension.

"We all know that high-speed internet is no longer a nice-to-have, but a need-to-have for everyone, everywhere," said Jessica Rosenworcel, chair of the Federal Communications Commission. "The early days of the pandemic made that clearer than ever."

According to officials, 338,000 New Jersey families are currently benefiting from the program. As of August, about 1.1 million homes in New Jersey were eligible for the perk.

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