Sweden has maintained its position as the economy most in tune with information technology in all its aspects, according to a study released Thursday by market analyst IDC.

In the study, known as the IDC/World Times Information Society Index (ISI), the US slipped from second place in last year's index to fourth this year, allowing two more Nordic countries, Norway and Finland, to take the second and third spots. Denmark, the UK, Switzerland, Australia, Singapore and the Netherlands filled out the top 10.

The ISI ranks countries according to their ability to access and absorb information and information technology. The index tracks data from 55 countries that collectively account for 97 percent of the global GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and 99 percent of IT expenditure.

The rating is based on four infrastructure categories: computer, information, internet, and social infrastructures. The weighting given to a country's internet infrastructure has increased this year, as the internet had almost 100 million new users in 2000, IDC said.

The top three countries in this category, based mostly on numbers of internet users per head of population, were Sweden, Singapore, and Australia.

The UK seemed to figure nowhere near the top in this category, nor in computer infrastructure, strongest information infrastructure, and strongest social infrastructure.

But the UK has improved its ISI ranking from 12th in 2000 to 6th this year, largely on the strength of its rapid cellular phone adoption.

IDC is a subsidiary of International Data Group Inc., the parent company of IDG News Service.