CHARLOTTE, N.C. – US LEC disappeared from the corporate world on Wednesday following approval by stockholders for its $450 million merger with Paetec Corp.

The combined company will be known as Paetec and will trade on the NASDAQ as of March 1 under the symbol PAET. Paetec was privately held before the merger received stockholder approvals from both firms.

US LEC was founded in Charlotte in 1996 when telecommunications deregulation helped foster the launch of so-called competitive local exchange carriers, or CLECs, to compete with larger telephone companies. US LEC stock traded under the symbol CLEC.

Paetec has said it will maintain operations in Charlotte but its headquarters will be in Fairport, N.Y. The companies agreed to merge last year.

“The completed merger is a significant milestone in the history of competitive U.S. carriers offering business telecommunications services,” said Arunas Chesonis, chairman and chief executive officer of Paetec. “Bringing the two successful companies together enables us to offer a wider array of products and services over a greater geographic reach, thereby bringing increased value to our customers and stakeholders.”

Paetec will have almost 2,300 employees and more than 45,000 business customers.

US LEC co-founders Richard Aab and Tansukh Ganatra will have roles with the combined company. Aab is vice chairman of Paetec. He had been US LEC’s chairman. Ganatra, who had returned to US LEC as interim CEO last fall, will remain a member of the Paetec board.