At about 11.30am this morning Sol Trujillo was telling around 500 of the nation’s top analysts and journalists about the virtues of the Next-G network when he got an unexpected spray.

A sprinkler system at the glass-fronted overseas passenger terminal at Circular Quay sprang to life unexpectedly, drenching the stage and the first few rows of attendees.

Some journalists at the briefing claim that the pugnacious Telstra CEO was drenched. Others say their colleagues are guilty of wishful thinking and he was actually spared the worst of it. Either way the room ended up stinking from the sprinkler bore water, the audience got a bucketing, and the discussion came to a damp end.

According to the ABC Trujllo had earlier been warming to a discussion of the virtues of a $1 billion Next-G wireless broadband network that he said would make the company a world leader and would reach 98% of all Australians.

“This is the day, the sixth of October, 2006, that life in Australia will be changed forever,” he said. “It’s going to be changed by a new nation-wide, high-speed, broadband, wireless network.”

Mr Trujillo says the Next G network has a geographical reach that is 100 times greater than any other competitors. “Telstra’s new Next G network will reach around 98% of all Australians,” he said. “It’s going to create new experiences for just about everything that we think about doing in our everyday lives.”

The briefing about the technology that will change Australian life forever has been moved the Hilton and will continue this afternoon.

As for the technology that stopped Trujillo in his tracks, the suspected culprit is a light that was set up too close to a heat sensor.