The United States has overtaken Singapore and regained the lead in exploiting information and communication technology, according to a study released Tuesday.

It is the third time in five years that the United States has topped the rankings in the World Economic Forum's "networked readiness index," based on such factors as quality of math and science education and low telephone and Internet pricing.

"The long pipeline of scientific and technological innovation is a remarkable source of strength for the U.S. economy," said Augusto Lopez-Claros, who co-edited the report for the Geneva-based forum.

The U.S. performance was also helped by extensive cooperation between research bodies and business and the ready availability of venture capital, added Soumitra Dutta, another co-editor, working with the French-based international business school INSEAD.

Singapore, which dropped to second place, still performed well largely because of its excellent regulatory environment and world-class levels of education and training, the report said. It is Singapore's fourth consecutive year in the top three.

Nordic countries maintained their positions near the top of the rankings, with Denmark in third place, followed by Iceland and Finland. Sweden was 8th.

The Nordic countries' performance was boosted by the excellence of their universities, a friendly environment for new business ventures and a predisposition to adopting the latest technologies, the report said.

Canada was sixth and Taiwan seventh. Switzerland and the United Kingdom rounded up the top 10. The report covered 115 economies, with Guyana, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Chad and Ethiopia at the bottom.