Comcast Gets Texty

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Rdy to txt yr cable oper8r?

Comcast -- as part of a broader strategy to boost its customer-service reputation -- has launched a text-messaging service dubbed "COMCAST4U" that lets subscribers check their accounts, receive info and request that a service representative give them call.

The COMCAST4U mobile short message service is now available to customers in the MSO's Freedom Region, which includes Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs, New Jersey and Northern Delaware. Comcast said it will roll out nationwide over the course of the next few months, with most customers expected to have access by the first half of 2011.

Commands available through the service include "BAL," which provides current account balance; "OUT," which indicates whether there's a known service outage in the customer's area; "HIT," which sends a reset signal to a customer's equipment; "NOW," which provides a list of what's on TV at that moment; "PRIMETIME," which lists that night's primetime TV lineup; and "VOD," which provides highlights of on-demand content.

Other COMCAST4U commands are "CALLME," to get a call back from a customer-service rep; "NOAPPT," to cancel a scheduled service call; and "LOC," with the address of the nearest payment center.

"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," Bill Connors, president of Comcast's East Division, said in a statement. "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."

In addition, customers who register for COMCAST4U will receive periodic text messages providing updates and information about their Comcast products and services, such as appointment reminders, payment confirmation, service alert information and account due/past due notices.

While COMCAST4U is free to Comcast customers, the company pointed out that standard text-messaging rates may apply from a customer's respective wireless service provider. Customers can sign up for (or deactivate) the COMCAST4U service at http://text.comcast.com. Once registered, customers can text commands to "COMCAST" (short code 266278).

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