Utility regulators in Vermont have signed off in the $1.5 billion purchase of FairPoint Communications by Illinois-based Consolidated Communications.
Regulators in Maine and New Hampshire have already approved the merger.
If it wins final approval, Consolidated's deal to buy FairPoint would create the ninth largest fiber optics company in the country.
The $1.5 billion dollar all-stock purchase price would also be close to a billion dollars less that FairPoint paid in 2008 for Verizon's landline business in New Hampshire Vermont and Maine.
That deal soured fast. There were billing problems, technical issues, and the North Carolina-based FairPoint seemed ill-prepared to run a company that grew five-fold when it bought Verizon.
FairPoint went into bankruptcy in 2009. It reorganized but continued to lose money. In 2014 there was a strike, followed by layoffs.
Regulators in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont made FairPoint's sale contingent on upgrades to lines, retaining workers and Consolidated agreeing to keep some executive offices in New England.
The deal has also been approved by the Federal Communications Commission.