Arguing that net neutrality rules recently adopted by the FCC exceed the agency’s statutory authority, Verizon Wireless asked the D.C. Circuit appeals court yesterday to strike down the agency order, which passed by a 3-2 margin last month. Verizon’s appeal is the first of several anticipated court challenges against the rules, which prohibit broadband Internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking or degrading lawful web content, applications and services except as needed for “reasonable network management,” and engaging in discrimination with respect to the transmission of Internet traffic. The order also bars mobile wireless broadband ISPs from blocking content and services that compete with their voice and data services. Last April, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit overturned an earlier FCC ruling in which the FCC held Comcast liable for violations of the agency’s 2005 net neutrality principles in “throttling” transmissions from the BitTorrent web site. Although the court determined at that time that the FCC lacked statutory authority to enforce net neutrality principles that were not officially codified under the FCC’s rules, the FCC based last month’s order on the current classification of broadband services as a Title I information service and on the pursuit of existing statutory mandates that relate to the advancement of broadband and other advanced services. Notwithstanding the FCC’s rationale, Verizon told the court yesterday that last month’s net neutrality order “goes well beyond any authority provided by Congress, and creates uncertainty for the communications industry, innovators, investors and consumers.” In a press statement, Verizon also took issue with “the FCC’s assertion of broad authority for sweeping new regulation of broadband networks and the Internet itself.” Although the net neutrality order has yet to be published in the Federal Register, a Verizon spokesman said that the company decided to proceed with yesterday’s court filing out of “an abundance of caution.” Although net neutrality advocates criticized Verizon’s action, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) joined with other members of the House Republican leadership in applauding the appeal which, they observed, puts “a check on an FCC that is acting beyond the authority granted to it by Congress.”