PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Telecommunications companies Consolidated Communications and FairPoint Communications say their shareholders have approved a proposed merger. Consolidated announced in December it was buying FairPoint for $1.5 billion, assuming its debt and offering dividends to stockholders. Shareholder voting took place Tuesday at Consolidated in Illinois and at FairPoint in North Carolina. FairPoint is a Charlotte, North Carolina-based telephone and internet provider that serves homes, businesses and public institutions. The lion’s share of FairPoint’s business is in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. The company has a fiber-based Ethernet network with about 18,000 miles of fiber wires in northern New England. Consolidated provides business and broadband communications in 11 states and is based in Mattoon, Illinois. Public utilities commissions in the northern New England states will hold hearings in April and May on the merger.