Canada’s ranking as an IT power slipped to 14th place in 2001, according to a recent IDC and World Times Information Society Index (ISI) report.

For the third consecutive year, the ISI ranked Sweden number one. Rounding out the top five are Norway, Switzerland, the United States and Denmark.

The study, called Measuring the Global Impact of Information Technology and Internet Adoption, profiled 55 countries. The ISI uses 23 indicators to measure how a country’s citizens respond to the use of technology both internally and externally. The same report conducted in 2000 had Canada ranked 12th.

While the overall rankings remained relatively unchanged from the previous year, the index did place more importance on cell phone use in 2001, as it is increasingly seen as a gateway to the In-ternet. That change in criteria helped propel Taiwan from 18th place to 10th place.

The report affirmed the number one ranking of Sweden based on its highly developed IT infrastructure, advanced education system and the growth of its IT technology clusters. Other notable rationalizations for justifying the number one ranking included the highest penetration of mobile use in Europe, the most active Internet shoppers and the lowest broadband cost

per month. The Swedes are also considered leaders in providing

e-government services.

However, despite the fact that Canada tumbled slightly, one analyst said no one should panic just yet. “This is a counting of units (such as cell phones or PCs) and not reflective of how the infrastructure is being developed

or used,” said Vito Mabrucco, a group vice-president at IDC Canada in Toronto. He added that once the index does include infrastructure analysis, Canada’s ranking will rise.

There are several key areas that have led the Sweden to be recognized as number one, according to a Swedish government official.

“We’re setting ourselves apart in Internet and mobile wireless technologies. We do a lot of Internet banking that has been very accepted by the mass of the population in Sweden,” said Goran Eriksson, the director for Invest in Sweden Agency in Los Angeles.