Five of the nation's biggest cable companies today announced they're rolling out free wi-fi hotspots for customers.

The markets covered including Los Angeles, New York, Tampa, Orlando, and Philadelphia. The participating companies include Comcast and Time Warner Cable in L.A. and Cox Communications in Orange and San Diego counties.

Good news? Well, sort of:

The deal is you already have to be a high-speed internet customer, which likely means you're already getting wi-fi coverage at home.

However, the new deal, dubbed “CableWiFi” and available through 50,000 hotspots in those markets, will allow you to travel to New York, for example, and get your web on with little fuss.

According to a joint statement:

When traveling outside their home markets, high-speed Internet subscribers of the participating companies will look for the “CableWiFi” network and through a simple sign-on process connect using the same credentials as when accessing their providers' WiFi networks. In the coming months, users will be able to have their devices auto-connect to the Internet when located in any of the “Cable WiFi” hotspots.

Nomi Bergman, president of Bright House Networks:

This effort adds great value to our high speed Internet customers by providing free wireless Internet access on all of their WiFi enabled devices in our markets and additional areas across the country.

How will this affect Time Warner's TWC WiFi system in L.A., which is a near citywide wi-fi network for those who (mostly) pay extra for it? After all, the “CableWiFi” system is free if you get high-speed Internet access at home. We have a call into a Time Warner rep for clarification.

[Added at 12:28]: A Time Warner rep tells the Weekly:

TWC WiFi is free of charge to Subscribers of Time Warner Cable Standard Internet tier or higher. This agreement increases the number of markets where traveling subscribers can find free wifi.

(Scratches head).

[@dennisjromero / / @LAWeeklyNews]

LA Weekly