If you buy Internet access through your cable provider, your subscription is about to get much more mobile.
Five of the nation’s largest cable providers, including Comcast (CMCSA), Time Warner Cable (TWC, Fortune 500), Cablevision (CVC, Fortune 500), Bright House and Cox, announced on Monday that they will allow customers of any of the other four services to use their free Wi-Fi hotspots when traveling outside their home network area.
So, for example, when a Cox subscriber in Cleveland travels to Philadelphia, they can use a Comcast Wi-Fi hotspot for free.
Over the next few months, the five companies will open up their 50,000 Wi-Fi hotspots across the country to competitors’ customers. In out-of-network areas, users will be able to log on to hotspots labeled “CableWifi.”
It’s not launched yet, but the companies are working on technology that will store users’ credentials so their customers can be automatically logged in.
The cable providers’ partnership is similar to how cell phone carriers allow their customers to roam on other networks when traveling. That’s intentional: The cable companies say they are looking to compete with mobile carriers’ new 4G networks that make broadband-like speeds available everywhere.
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