I AM not writing about the billionaire Dennis Uy of the south. I am referring to our very own, Dennis Uy - the homegrown visionary of Angeles City. The locals know him as the owner of the first cable provider in Angeles, ACCTN, as well as the owner of local internet provider then called ComClark, now Converge ICT Solutions Incorporated. For some, he is known as the nephew of the famous businessman Johnny Uy, popular for his grocery store, Johnny’s Supermarket. But today, Dennis Uy is one of the most successful entrepreneurs not only in the Philippines but also in Asia.
He began with humble beginnings – a small boy from China who migrated to Angeles City under the guidance of his uncle Johnny. He started to study the local language and helped with chores in the grocery – he experienced being a bagger for his uncle’s supermarket. The young Uy enrolled at the Sto. Rosario Elementary School.
He then went to Chevalier School to continue his studies in high school. During his teen years, he would go to Manila to purchase Betamax and later VHS tapes to be rented out in their Jack’s Video rental with his brother, Jack.
As a kid, Uncle Johnny noticed that Dennis was keen on electronics. At a young age, he was able to repair some of the appliances including those old oversized industrial electric fans in the grocery store. With this gift, he got enrolled at the Lorraine Technical Institute and took a vocational course, and spent some weekends studying electronics. It was during those times that he learned about Ohm’s law and other engineering wonders.
As a college student at the Holy Angel University, he would go again to Manila to purchase Apple computers which were very expensive that time, and he would sell it to wealthy businessmen here in the city. At a young age, he was able to sell computers to big schools like Holy Family Academy, Chevalier and Holy Angel. From Betamax to VHS, CDs to flash drives, this visionary realized that technology is constantly evolving and his hunger for more knowledge went on.
After giving up their old business in video rental, Uy had this idea of putting up a cable television network in the city that had been forsaken and devastated by Pinatubo in the early 90s. It sounded like a crazy thought by some of his peers but Uy revealed that it was the perfect opportunity because when a given situation is at the lowest point, there is no other way but to go up – to bounce back, hence, the birth of ACCTN when it would cost P3,500 just to install the cable.
Since then, Uy has come a long way from just being a cable network provider. He has been recognized in the industry as Tier 1, a term which refers to as the provider or main source of technology in the country. During his message in one of City College of Angeles’ commencement exercises as Guest of Honor and Speaker, he shared his dream of making Angeles as a “smart city.”
He started doing this by putting up free Wi-Fi access in strategic locations around the city. His company had also started to put up analytics-capable cameras to monitor peace and order, traffic management, and other pertinent details via the state-of-the-art command center. The captured image can penetrate through tinted glass and has special features to respond accurately to a given situation.
His telecom firm has generated employment here in the region and across the country. In one of his meetings at his firm, his human resources officer told him about some concern. He was informed that some of his engineers were being pirated by big companies for huge compensation. The kapampangan Uy said, “That is not a problem. That is a career success of our engineers and I am happy for them. Your job in the HR is to recruit more employees to generate more jobs and create more successful Filipino engineers.”
This is why it is disheartening to learn how some elected officials attempt to politicize some issues against Dennis Uy’s firm. Grandstanding in front of the crowd as if provoking them to enrage instead of letting them understand what the issue is all about - that the Converge ICT did not bill 9 days (April 1-9) for the April billing, and that they have since billed the unbilled 9 days as a catch up in the July bill. The company reiterated that this was a one-time addition to our subscribers.
Why single him out? Why not invite other internet providers for their poor service as well? Yes, there is no monopoly here. Customers can easily choose which provider they would want to subscribe. Uy claimed that Converge ICT’s rates are lower than the competition with around 60,000 subscribers all over the country. If the service does not satisfy the subscriber, he or she has the option to find another provider that hopefully would meet the desired outcome.
From cable TV connection, the Converge ICT now provides DOCSIS-powered internet as it gradually upgrades to pure fiber optic network in order to guarantee faster internet and crystal clear television signals. The service may not be perfect but Angeleños are fortunate to have a Dennis Uy who always has the grit to improve and excel on his ventures and services.
Jose “Kuya Jay” Pelayo IV is the president of Metro Angeles City Journalists Association, Inc. and the president of Pampanga-Tarlac Energy Press Corps. For comments and suggestions, e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.