Illinois-based Consolidated Communications and North Carolina-based FairPoint completed a $1.3 billion merger Monday, creating a telecommunications company operating in 24 states.

Shareholders approved the merger on March 28 and financing has been in place since December. All states have provided regulatory approval, as well.

Consolidated President and CEO Bob Udell says the company, based in downstate Mattoon, will be well positioned to expand services and attract new customers while maintaining local community support.

The company says the deal makes Consolidated the ninth-largest fiber optic communications provider in the United States.