SBC Expanding Telecom Services In North Valley By SLAV KANDYBA Staff Reporter SBC Communications has expanded its telecom offerings in the Northeast San Fernando Valley as it goes head-to-head in competition with Verizon, which has been the major player there. SBC, the Texas-based telecommunications giant with numerous subsidiaries nationwide, has had limited presence in that part of the Valley, but with the latest move it will offer a large line of products. They will range from the simplest voice plans to sophisticated data and network bundles. In the process, SBC is hoping to lure small and medium businesses, some of which have been asking it for the services, said Howard Lenox, SBC California regional vice president. “We had a small presence in San Fernando, but what we’re doing is we’re changing the way we’re delivering service,” Lenox said. “We’re buying telecom switches and extending our lines into the community.” The decision to enter the market in Pacoima, Sylmar and the City of San Fernando was made in the third quarter of last year, Lenox said. Rather than expanding rapidly, SBC has been taken a slower approach and has been carefully watching Verizon. Verizon officials were not available for comment. “Everyday in our call centers, customers call and ask if they can get service,” Lenox said. He declined to disclose the dollar amount for the investment, but called the Valley endeavor “substantial.” As a result of the expansion, the range of services SBC is able to offer has been increased from regular phone service to “a complete suite of managed data services,” Lenox said. SBC has been in the Northeast Valley since 1997, one year after Congress passed the landmark Telecommunications Act of 1996 which created greater competition in the industry. “What really sets us apart is that we’re bringing a robust bundle of services,” Lenox said.