Newly introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate aims to establish a national standard to ensure that rural areas have access to the same broadband and wireless coverage available in urban areas.

Sens. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., announced the Rural Reasonable and Comparable Wireless Act of 2018 on Tuesday.

It would direct the Federal Communications Commission to collect data about signal strength and network speed in the nation's 20 most populated urban areas and stipulate that rural areas would be considered "reasonably comparable" only if they met or exceeded the averages from those cities.

“This bipartisan bill will help bridge the urban-rural digital divide that has persisted for far too long," Hassan said.

The bill is the companion to a measure introduced in the House last year.

Steven Berry, president and CEO of the Competitive Carriers Association, said in a statement that the effort would "help ensure these important areas are not left behind in the digital world.”

“Correctly identifying areas still in need is very important to ensuring these locations are deemed eligible for critical Mobility Fund II support," Berry added. "Many competitive carriers serve remote and rural locations and depend on MF II support to expand their networks and provide the best service possible to their customers."