But there is still another category of potential customers, the 5 billion people not yet online. They will skip dial-up or broadband connections and go straight to mobile, said Schmidt.
Even modest amounts of Internet connectivity for such people will change lives, said Schmidt.
"There will be elites, but they won't have a monopoly on progress. The weak will be made strong, and those who have nothing will have something," he said, gathering pace.
But a digital divide will continue to exist and, if anything, "The gap between the top and bottom will be larger than today," he said.
Nevertheless, he concluded, "We can create a connected world of equals," leaving a look of surprised incomprehension on the face of some of his listeners.
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