BALTIMORE, Mar. 8 -- Corning Inc. presented its annual business briefing on Monday, March 6, at OFC 2000 in Baltimore. The company provided industry analysts with its overview of and expectations for the optical fiber and photonics industries, which saw worldwide growth of 35 percent and 60 percent respectively in 1999, according to Corning.Alan Eusden, vice president and general manager of Corning's telecommunications products division, indicated that the worldwide demand for optical fiber totaled more than 70 million fiber km in the past year, increasing 35 percent from 1998. North America experienced the greatest rate of growth, rising 45 percent in 1999; demand in the long-haul market segment led in this region, increasing 80 percent over the prior year. Western Europe saw 40 percent growth during the year, as did Japan, while the remaining Asian markets increased 20 percent. Eusden expects worldwide fiber demand to remain strong throughout 2000; he anticipates a growth rate of approximately 30 percent, with North American and Western Europe leading the markets.Gerald Fine, vice president and general manager of Corning’s photonic technologies division, said that global demand for photonics modules and components grew almost 60 percent in 1999. Fine expects growth to accelerate in 2000, with a rate of more than 70 percent anticipated. The metropolitan networks segment of the market is expected to see growth rates of more than 100 percent over the course of the next five years. Corning also broke down the industries into four market segments. For optical fiber, Eusden indicated that submarine fiber applications, which made up about 2 percent of the worldwide demand for fiber in 1999, grew 55 percent during the year. Long-haul fiber applications, which accounted for about 23 percent of the need for fiber, increased by 45 percent; metro/access fiber, which comprised about 70 percent of the total fiber market, grew 40 percent; and premises applications, with about five percent of the overall fiber market, grew 15 percent.On the photonics side, Fine noted that submarine applications accounted for about 40 percent of the global demand for modules and components in 1999, while long-haul applications comprised another 57 percent. Metro/Access applications made up another three percent. Fine said all three segments experienced growth rates of approximately 50 percent over the prior year.Eusden and Fine pointed to a number of factors driving growth in each segment. Global Internet traffic is seen to be driving demand for long-haul submarine capacity. The ongoing rapid adoption of 10-Gb/s 980-nm pump systems is expected to increase complexity of wet repeaters, leading to a multiplier effect for component demand. In the long-haul market segment, Corning expects healthy growth in 2000 and beyond, due to the emergence of new pan-European long-haul carriers, the demand for greater bandwidth and the major deregulation of utilities. The company predicts that growth in the Metro/Access market will become more discrete as a result of increased business-to-business and business-to-customer Internet communications, which will drive the need for individually bundled services and continued demand for content. Corning expects the Metro market to transition into more commercial markets in 2000.Finally, the company forecasts future growth in the premises market segment to take off in the coming year as the result of data rates climbing in riser and backbone. Corning predicts tremendous growth in Gigabit Ethernet protocol.Corning closed by outlining some of the fiber and photonic products that the company is delivering in response to the demands of the various market segments. Corning's new MetroCor optical fiber, featured at OFC 2000, was designed specifically for metropolitan area networks; the product has already been chosen for deployment in Williams Communications' metro networks. The company also introduced a dispersion compensation module optimized for its LEAF optical fiber at the show, as well as new optical switches, a new line of high-performance submarine optical fibers, and a micro-optic-based interleaver device to increase capacity in metro and long-haul dense WDM systems. CorningLasertron also demonstrated its new Raman pump module, which the company said was designed for next-generation long-haul dense WDM systems.