As we shift to an increasingly more digital age, it has become pressingly clear that there must be something done about the Philippines’ internet speed.
Although improvements have been made–the country now ranks 83rd in February this 2021 as opposed to its 111th position in the same period last year according to web speed service Ookla, the Philippines still falls behind its ASEAN counterparts. It currently places sixth for mobile and broadband speeds out of 10 countries. However, one new key player has been slowly stepping up to the challenge, hoping to expand the boundaries of the local telecommunications industry.
Converge ICT Solutions, Inc., now recognized to be a major player against competitors PLDT and Globe Telecom, is a telco company that currently provides fiber-optic broadband services to over 1 million subscribers nationwide. By December 2020, it was revealed to have captured 54% of the market share of fixed broadband net adds in the country. This follows its debut in the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) with the Philippines’ largest initial public offering (IPO) in recent history.
Shedding light on his ambitions for Converge and the future of Filipino broadband services is CEO and founder Dennis Anthony Uy — not to be confused with DITO Telecom’s Dennis Uy — who led an online exchange forum hosted by the Anvil Business Club last Thursday, April 22.
Connecting the nation
Growing up, Dennis Anthony Uy always had a fascination with electronics and technology. It was for this reason that Uy honed his skills, taking up a degree in engineering before setting up first the Angeles City Cable Television in 1991, right after the Mt. Pinatubo eruption.
“People thought I was a crazy person in Angeles [City],” shared Uy. “But I saw the business opportunity. At the same time, I felt the need to provide Filipinos with news and entertainment to lift their spirits.”
Years later, it was with this same passion and drive to better the country that Uy established Converge ICT in 2012. Upon realizing that the Philippines was behind in internet speed compared to its peers, Uy envisioned a roadmap that would encompass the future of the next decade and never looked back. As of now, Converge ICT is the fastest-growing fiber broadband provider in the Philippines. This is because fiber broadband networks are the key to setting the groundwork for a digital tomorrow.
“Fiber-optic internet is the fastest, more available, and more advanced solution to data transfer [compared to] the antiquated copper-based digital subscriber line and cable internet,” explained Uy. “Our goal is the fiber-power[ed] Filipino nation. Our goal is to reach and connect the underserved and unserved areas in the country.”
Though Converge’s operations are currently centered in Luzon, the company plans to expand to the Visayas and Mindanao regions by mid-2021. In addition to this, Converge has also been involved in various projects, including a partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd) to provide 24-hour access to students via a government education portal.
“We just signed an agreement with the Department of Education. We have 25 million public school students who do not even have [good] internet connection at home. What we did was that we started in San Juan. There are 16,000 public school students. Did you know? We gave 6,000 homes fiber connection to give them a better education.”
A brighter future
“You need to think 10 years down the line,” said Uy, revealing his plans. He is laying out not only the foundations for Converge’s nationwide expansion but also for the Philippines’ own Silicon Valley-esque tech hub — Tech City.
“The Philippines has so many talented people. But we will not succeed because we lack opportunities to provide. We need to bring this to the country. We are in the middle of Asia — this is the best space for data. We are looking deeper [into] this opportunity. [With] technology, you need to go deep in digital transformation, but if you don’t have enough digital infrastructure, you cannot deliver. So this is the basic requirement that the company is doing right now,” explained Uy.
In order to make Tech City a reality, Uy intends to make use of a 50-hectare property in Angeles City, where he grew up. “I’m planning to put up the biggest data center in Asia. Aside from that, we want to put up the biggest international teleport [to host] multiple platforms of satellite carriers to the whole world. And I want to set up an innovation lab to provide for new start-ups who want to do some innovation.”
Painting a vivid map of this large-scale project, Uy also mentioned his plans to include a software house, a campus-type outsourcing center, a hotel, and even a small technological training university for his employees.
All of these detailed goals ultimately point to how Uy views success: “You make your people satisfied with what you’re doing. That’s important. You serve the countrymen with the technology you have. What’s important is the workers and the employees — they are taking care of our customers. It’s important that they’re happy and see that you’re passionate in bringing this technology to others.”
About the author:
There is nothing that Jodie enjoys more than writing about food, language, and the intricacies of a Chinoy life. A sales manager by day and a CHiNOY TV producer by night, she spends her free time diving into a world of Asian dramas and literature. Occasionally, she screams about figure skating.