In the spring of 2005, the fiber optics industry will have one big convention to attend. The Optical Fiber Communication Conference (OFC) and the National Fiber Optic Engineers Conference (NFOEC) have announced plans to combine into one conference and trade show that will take place March 6 through 11 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Calif. NFOEC 2004, previously scheduled for September in Anaheim, has been canceled.In the past, both events involved all facets of the communications industry. Telcordia Technologies was previously owned by NFOEC, which served the wireline, mobile, cable, government and equipment supplier markets. OFC is managed by OSA and co-sponsored by OSA, IEEE/ComSoc (Communications Society) and IEEE/LEOS. According to Liz Rogan, OSA's executive director, by merging the gatherings, OFC gains the carriers and service providers, which it hadn't focused on previously. Attendance at both shows dropped off in 2001 and 2002, but OFC experienced an upswing in 2004, attracting more than 500 speakers, 640 exhibitors and close to 16,000 attendees. In 2003, NFOEC drew 150 exhibitors and more than 3000 attendees. Rogan said it's too soon to predict the numbers at the combined conference but indicated that the organizers are "finding lots of enthusiasm for what will be the most exciting event for the communications industry in 2005."Terms of the cooperation were not disclosed, but Rogan made clear that although Telcordia is no longer a financial co-sponsor, the management of NFOEC is closely involved. Telcordia and OFC management will maintain individual identities at the joint event by offering separate technical programs. Attendees will benefit, she said, by networking with "all sorts of individuals they don't normally see in the same place." There will be one reception, a large plenary session and a single service provider summit. Former OFC attendees not only will have access to new exhibitors, but also will benefit from the strong keynote presenters that NFOEC will attract.