As the wireless broadband market expands, increasingly becoming a necessity for households and businesses worldwide, wireless metropolitan access networks (WiMAX) are on the verge of explosive growth.

According to the Montreal-based market research firm Maravedis, the fundamentals for continued growth of broadband wireless are sound. Government initiatives to reduce the digital divide are making gains for broadband wireless. Countries—including Australia, South Korea and the United States—have programs in place today, along with a push by the European Commission for more flexible spectrum policies. Furthermore, demand is exploding as the pricing of broadband services rapidly decreases. Maravedis reports there were close to 350 million broadband subscribers worldwide at the end of 2007, up from 130 million at the end of 2004.

According to the company’s report, “WiMAX, LTE and Broadband Wireless Worldwide Market Trends 2008–2014, 5th Edition,” which was released in February 2008, WiMAX will see rapid growth from its current starting point. The technology enjoys the advantage of being part of a growing market for point-to-point backhaul and grid networks that connect increasingly to localized servers and storage and for person-to-person and group communications, entertainment, and file sharing.

According to the report, WiMAX will be able to overcome the challenges of being competitive in a wireless world ruled by the cellular phone. Maravedis predicts that there will be an accumulated 55 million WiMAX subscribers by the end of 2012, then accelerating to 127 million at the end of 2014. This is good news for those who stand to gain from the technology’s growth. The accumulated equipment market size for combined demand and supply of WiMAX equipment is expected to total $42 billion by 2014.