US voice and data communications provider Covad Communications and North American operator Megapath have announced plans to combine their operations. The merger could create one of the largest managed service local exchange carriers (MSLEC) in the US, pending state and federal regulator approvals. The combined businesses claim the largest Ethernet, DSL and T1 footprint in North America capable of providing a full range of internet, voice, security and VPN services nationwide. The combined businesses will be owned by Platinum and MegaPath investors. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the third quarter.