Five cable companies have announced a joint effort to provide wireless Internet hotspots across the US. Bright House Networks, Cablevision, Comcast, Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable have agreed to let their high-speed Internet subscribers access each other's Wi-Fi networks. The effort, dubbed "CableWiFi," is similar to a deal signed between Cablevision, Comcast and Time Warner in early 2010, which allowed cross-provider hotspot access throughout various northeastern US markets.

The latest agreement is much larger, unifying over 50,000 hotspots. CableWiFi is currently available throughout New York City and central Florida courtesy of networks launched by Bright House and Cablevision earlier this month. Other partners will join the fray over the coming months, creating a unified wireless network across NYC and the surrounding Tri-State area, as well as Los Angeles, Tampa, Orlando and Philadelphia, with more cities planned after, though no additional locations were named.

The network includes both indoor and outdoor hotspots in high traffic locations, such as shopping districts, cafes, malls, arenas, restaurants, parks and beaches. You can find the nearest CableWiFi hotspot through this page, which points you to the participating companies' sites, and the network uses "CableWiFi" as an SSID. CableWiFi is free if you're subscribed to the aforementioned services and it should be as simple as logging in with the same credentials supplied for your provider's network.

"We believe that WiFi is a superior approach to mobile data, and that cable providers are best positioned to build the highest-capacity national network offering customers fast and reliable Internet connections when away from their home or business broadband service," said Cablevision exec Kristin Dolan. "We've built an extensive WiFi network in our own service area, and see real value and potential in other leading providers joining with us to extend that connectivity to major markets across the country."