Getting online at the local coffee shop is about to get easier. Five major cable providers announced a new initiative today to bring easy-access Wi-Fi connectivity to the kinds of hotspots found at cafes, book stores, and small restaurants the nation over.

The newly-formed wireless round table unites the subscriber-based Wi-Fi programs of Bright House Networks, CableVision, Comcast. Cox Communications, and Time Warner Cable under one umbrella of service called CableWiFi. When a customer from any one of the above providers enters a place of business with CableWiFi, they'll be able to access the service using the same log-in information that applies to their home account.

What's more, it doesn't matter which prodvider supplies your service. So if your home internet payments go to CableVision but you get your latte on at Cute Barista Central coffee shop in a Time Warner Cable area code, you'll still be able to sign on using the same credentials as your home account.

The new initiative--already underway at 50,000 hotspot locations in the New York City and the greater Tri-state area, as well as Los Angeles, Tampa, Orland0, and Philadelphia --is billed as a service of convenience for the companies' current customers.  In a world where hotspots are ubiquitously built into Chic-Fil-a and McDonald's fast food restaurants, broadband providers are banking that the added convenience of connecting to a Wi-Fi network with ease will put a smile on subscribers' faces. And to spread those smiles farther and wider, the CableWiFi team plans to do two things: