Venezuelan state-owned telco CANTV said in a statement that 170,000 clients had signed up for a social programme offering lower rate fixed telephony services as of 22 December 2008, reports BNamericas. The new telephony tariff was launched in October 2008, and offers discounts for economically disadvantaged sections of the population. The ‘Tarifa Solidaria’ calling package offers a 10% discount on local calls and a 15% discount on domestic long-distance calls, and is expected to benefit an estimated 1.5 million Venezuelans. To define which people within which areas qualify for the subsidy, CANTV is using a combination of national inventory ‘Fundacomun’ and its own census. Venezuela ended the third quarter of 2008 with a fixed line penetration of 21.2%, up from 17.2% at the end of the same period in 2007, according to data from the country’s telecoms regulator Conatel; fixed lines in the country totalled 5.89 million at end-3Q08 compared to 4.69 million a year earlier.