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US lags behind on digital readiness, report says

The Networked Readiness index measures how ready countries are for a digital economy -- and Singapore is leading the way, according to the World Economic Forum.

Aloysius Low/CNET

The World Economic Forum on Wednesday released a list that gauges how well countries are using new digital technology. The US, perhaps unsurprisingly, isn't No. 1 -- that honour goes to Singapore.

Instead, the US came in at No. 5, below Finland, Sweden and Norway too. The UK was No. 7, and Australia didn't even make the top 10.

The Networked Readiness Index "measures how well an economy is using information and communications technologies to boost competitiveness and well-being," according to the Forum. The WEF looked at 53 indicators, such as worker skill, affordability and regulatory conditions when putting the report together.

Singapore leading the way is no accident, with the country's government two years ago beginning a "Smart Nation" initiative -- a concerted effort to digitise anything and everything that can be digitised.

Network readiness will be vital to countries in the coming years as more and more offline services go online, the report said. Nations that are ready for this change will be able to adapt quicker and more efficiently than those which do not.