The merger of Tellabs ( TLAB) and Advanced Fibre Communications ( AFCI) passed antitrust muster Wednesday. The networking companies said the Federal Trade Commission granted them early termination of the antitrust waiting period under the Hart Scott Rodino act. Tellabs and Advanced Fibre agreed in May to merge in a deal that was initially valued at $1.9 billion in cash and stock. The deal, which is expected to close in October, will create an equipment manufacturer catering to the needs of the nation's big local phone companies such as Verizon ( VZ), SBC ( SBC) and BellSouth ( BLS). AFC has come up big in the Bells' plans to extend fiber-optic networks to customers. This so-called fiber to the premises, or FTTP, strategy has been a big investment theme for AFC in the past year. The Bells have focused on new ventures such as FTTP and voice over Internet protocol, or VoIP, as their core local phone business suffers a steepening loss of crucial access lines. On Wednesday, Tellabs was flat at $8.14 and AFC was unchanged at $19.16.