The ion transport mechanism of the alkali metal salt complexes of polyethylene oxide (PEO) is discussed. The generally accepted idea that conduction is due to movement of cations from site to site along the core of the helical structure does not agree with experiments. In PEO, the mutual coulombic repulsion of the lone pairs forces them to orient themselves outwards the helical strands. A polyhelical structure for these complexes is proposed in which the lone pair electrons on the oxygen atoms 'coordinate' to the alkali cations. In a dynamically disordered medium, the configurational motion of the polymeric framework will lead to the freedom of some of these lone pairs of suitably placed strands to allow for a transient low potential pathway for one dimensional motion of the cations. The model has been applied to explain experimental findings including variation of conductance with temperature, pressure, concentration of salt and heat treatment.