Supercomm, the telecom industry\u2019s biggest party, kicked off this week at its new Chicago digs with upbeat news.Last year, things started looking better. . . .this year, they are better.Supercomm, the telecom industry\u2019s biggest party, kicked off this week at its new Chicago digs with upbeat news: Paid attendance, exhibitor count and square footage of exhibition space are all up from last year, show officials report. This is an indication that a market recovery is in full swing.Organizers expected 30,000 attendees\u00a0- 20% more than last year, Supercomm\u2019s swan song in Atlanta after six years. There were 100 more exhibitors at this year\u2019s show, 600 total; and 300,000 square feet of exhibition space, 22,000 more than 2003.That\u2019s because carriers are picking up and spending again on equipment to offer new services to enterprises while decreasing their own operating expenses.North American telecom service providers\u2019 overall capital spending experienced a year-over-year increase in the first quarter of 2004, the first in nearly three years, according to research firm RHK. Worldwide, service provider capital expenditures will remain roughly stable through the next five years, the firm found.\u201cThis is a positive development for the industry, which has seen significant declines in spending in recent years,\u201d RHK said. Global capital spending declined 11% in 2003, to $214 billion, following a nearly 30% decline the year before.North American capital expenditures also are stabilizing, according to Infonetics Research. Carriers will spend $47.4 billion this year, which is down 2% from 2003. RHK says North American capital spending rose 12% in the first quarter of 2004 compared to the first quarter of 2003.The hottest area of investment is in equipment for wireless infrastructure and services, both firms found. In North America, capital spending for wireless rose 33% in the first quarter as wireless subscriber numbers increased. Wireline spending declined slightly in the first quarter.That\u2019s not to say wireline is in a slump. Many wireline RFPs are on the street\u00a0- such as AT&T\u2019s multi-service edge, SBC\u2019s optical add\/drop multiplexer and switch, and Verizon\u2019s ATM\/multiservice core projects.