The drive to digitise America’s billboards has suffered a setback in North Carolina, where the city of Durham has rejected an outdoor advertising firm’s plans despite two years of lobbying.
Durham’s city council unanimously turned down Fairway Outdoor Advertising’s proposals after a four-hour discussion.
The city had been the scene of one of the most fiercely-fought battles over digital billboards, with Fairway and opponents alike running extended public-relations campaigns.
Fairway had secured the support of the local business community and many in law enforcement, but failed to convince most government officials.
“There are lots of ways to really enhance a city,” councilman Eugene Brown was quoted as saying. “I don’t think digital billboards are a way.”
Another councilman said he had received more than 1000 emails opposing Fairway’s plans, and just seven in support
Fairway has not entirely lost its chance to deploy the new technology in the Durham area, however: it now faces a 13 September vote by the county commissioners, who could permit it to place digital billboards outside the city limits.