NEW YORK - Quick & Reilly, the discount brokerage unit of FleetBoston Financial Corp., has begun offering free Internet access.

The service, which began last Wednesday, is offered through 1stUp.com Corp., a majority-owned operating company of CMGI Inc. of Andover, Mass. Quick & Reilly customers can get unlimited Internet access in exchange for keeping 1stUp.com's navigation bar on their screens.

Quick & Reilly's move came after a similar announcement by Ameritrade of Omaha, which also offers free Internet access via 1stUp.com.

Several discount brokers, including E-Trade Group Inc. and J.B. Oxford & Co., offer free Internet access, but most require a minimum account balance or number of trades, said Dan Burke, an analyst at Gomez Advisors in Lincoln, Mass.

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