CORNING, N.Y., Feb. 8 -- Corning Inc.'s board of directors has approved a proposal to invest three-quarters of a billion dollars in expanding the company's optical fiber manufacturing capabilities. Corning expects the expansions to lead to an increase of more than 50 percent in overall capacity.The multi-year plan includes equipment enhancements and/or plant expansions at the company's plants in Wilmington and Concord, N.C., and at Noble Park in Victoria, Australia. Corning said this would be the first major plant expansion at Concord, its newest fiber-making facility, which commenced production in 1999; the additional capacity will more than double that plant's fiber production capability. The primary drivers behind our expansion plans are the strong, worldwide demand for Corning fiber, particularly our new, advanced products, and projections for significant network growth in Europe, the Far East and other regions of the world, said John W. Loose, president and COO of Corning Inc. It is the rapid absorption of bandwidth, and the world's seemingly insatiable demand for more, that is creating the opportunity for Corning to meet the requirements of telecommunications service providers as they rapidly deploy optical networks around the world.