Comcast is keeping its customers updated and connected in regard to their services with a new SMS text messaging service.

The service, called Comcast4U, allows Comcast's subscribers to get updates on primetime TV lineups, VOD offerings, sports scores and schedules, and account balances. Customers can also be notified if there's a service interruption, be placed into a queue for a callback from Comcast, have a reset signal sent to their equipment and cancel scheduled service calls. (For a quick look at how the service works, check out this video).

Comcast4U uses simple text messaging for any mobile handset – not just smartphones – that is enabled to send and receive text messages.

The service also allows Comcast customers to receive periodic updates on their Comcast services, such as payment confirmations, appointment reminders and alerts when payments are past due.

"We developed Comcast4U using feedback we heard from our customers, who want more control of their own accounts and service requests and who have grown to rely on the ease, convenience and immediacy of sending and receiving text messages to get information, entertainment and alerts," said Bill Connors, president of Comcast's East Division. "Then we added innovative features and functionality to take it a step further, so our customers can now communicate with us wherever, whenever and however they prefer."

Comcast has been proactive on getting its customers synced up with the devices and services that they're clamoring for. It has released several apps for iPhones and iPod Touches, including the Comcast Mobile 2.0 app that was featured in yesterday's story, as well as using an iPad as a remote control device.

Comcast4U is available today in Comcast's hometown of Philadelphia and surrounding suburbs, as well as parts of New Jersey and northern Delaware. The service will be rolled out nationally over the course of the next few months, with most of Comcast's subscribers having access by the first half of next year.

To set preferences and turn the service on or off, Comcast users can go to the Comcast4U Web portal. Once there, Comcast customers register their mobile phone number through a quick and simple process and provide their Comcast account number to complete registration and personalize the services offered.

Once registered, customers can text various commands to get the information they want.

Comcast4U is free to Comcast customers, and Comcast does not charge a fee to use this service, nor does it charge for text messages sent to the Comcast short code (266278) or for receipt of alerts.

Standard text messaging rates may apply from a customer's wireless service provider. Comcast4U is compatible with all major providers in the United States, including Alltel, AT&T, Boost, Nextel, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular and Verizon.