WICT Asserts Cable-Only Stance

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Looks like women in FiOS will have to come up with their own organization.

Women in Cable & Telecommunications has dropped the "&" from its name so people won't think it  includes DBS operators, telcos, or others getting into the multichannel video business.

The change, said the group, "strengthens WICT's commitment as an organization that supports the cable industry exclusively."

"With industry consolidation and competition, the need to re-evaluate membership eligibility has been at the forefront of Women In Cable Telecommunications strategic planning process," said WICT in its statement. "Recently, the bylaws of WICT, Inc. were changed to be more specific to the cable industry."

That tightening means between 50 and 60 members--20% DBS, 20% telco, 60% ISP's, no longer fit the criteria and will have to go, though they are grandfathered through this year.

Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, WICT President & CEO, said that the bylaws had allowed in members who were "not directly related to the cable business," and had not been specific enough to emphasize that "we want to serve and support the women and companies in cable telecommunications.

Mosley said that to avoid any antitrust questions, the group searched for other organizations that would serve women in "other than cable telecommuniations" (our quotes) and found that they could get leadership, professional development, and advocacy support--WICT's strong suits--through Catalyst, Working Mother Media, Women in Communications, and others.

The cable and telco industries have been polarized by the issue of whether or not telco video service, like Verizon's FiOS, should get some help from the government to ease the time-consuming local franchise process so that telcos can more quickly compete for price and service competition with cable and can roll-out broadband service more quickly, a government priority.

Venders and suppliers as well as cable operators are still welcome, but Mosley points out that the group was started as part of the cable industry, and is "dedicated to supporting the cable industry."

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