Customers of the five leading cable companies are getting an extension to their existing high-speed Internet subscription that will let them access more than 50,000 hotspots. Bright House Networks, Optimum, Xfinity, Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable have banded together under the brand name CableWiFi to share this access in metropolitian areas, giving them a way to retain customers who might otherwise switch to a wireless provider for Internet access outside of the home.

New York City and central Florida are the first to get CableWifi, areas where it was launched by Bright House Networks working with Cablevision. Each of the companies will now be adding CableWifi to their existing branded Wi-Fi hotspots so that users know which are participating in the program.

This follows a 2010 agreement among Cablevision, Comcast and Time Warner Cable that allowed their customers in New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Connecticut to access Wi-Fi hotspots offered by each operator in these areas.

Each company involved in CableWiFi issued a statement in support of the venture. For example, Kristin Dolan, Cablevision’s senior executive vice president of product management and marketing, said, “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. 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.”

Adding a slightly different perspective, Jill Campbell, Cox Communications chief operating officer, said, “The way customers are using our service continues to evolve. This is a new area of opportunity that we need to explore.”

Related links:

CableWiFi – official site

CableWiFi – press release

Photo by Flickr user Anastàssia, used under Creative Commons license