[telegraph] The Rural Coalition is bringing together six national organisations including the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the Country Land and Business Association, the Local Government Association and the Royal Town Planning Institute.
The new group will be putting pressure on politicians to put the countryside first in the run up to the general election.
Their demands include maintaining post offices, reforming planning laws to better protect the countryside and supporting village life through providing jobs and better services such as fast enough broadband speeds.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph last week the Prince said that schools, doctors' surgeries and other essential services were being left in the internet "slow lane" and the British countryside was in danger of becoming a series of "ghost villages populated by little more than second home owners".
Mark Price, the Managing Director of Waitrose, warned in The Sunday Telegraph that Britain is in danger of losing "our green and pleasant land" because our taste for cheap imported food means small farmers can no longer survive.
The new coalition agrees that Government has "undervalued the countryside and failed to meet the needs of rural communities".
Matthew Taylor, the Lib Dem MP and Chairman of the Coalition, said policy needs to change in order to support a modern countryside that can thrive in the modern world.
“The coalition has come together in the belief that a more sustainable future for all rural communities is both essential and achievable. It demands a fundamental change of approach at both national and local level," he said.
“The Rural Coalition is seeking a debate setting this new agenda for the countryside to meet the challenges of the 21st century, in order to present a clear, workable policy framework to whoever is in Government after the election."
The Government has promised everyone will have speeds of 2 Megabits per second (Mbps) by 2012.
However, at the moment people in rural areas are missing out because it is not worth the while of Internet operators to put in super fast broadband in more remote places.
The Commission for Rural Communities estimate at least two million people in the countryside have slower speeds than 2Mbps, not to mention those 166,000 in "not spots" where there is no broadband at all.
Charles Trotman, Head of Rural Business Development at the Country Land and Business Association, said better rural broadband is a key part of helping businesses to thrive.
He pointed out that small businesses in the countryside are a key part of the national economy yet around 100,000 are struggling to get fast enough broadband connection.
"High-speed Internet access will be essential in years to come for all businesses – rural and urban – and those communities that do not have it will be at a severe economic and social disadvantage," he said.
Among those affected by slow internet speeds is Gareth Jones, a farmer from Builth Wells, Powys, who says he struggles to find prices for his stock, details of farms auctions and fill in government forms online because he has to rely on a dial-up service.
A report by the communications regulator Ofcom in July said rural broadband users were getting internet connections a third slower than those living in urban areas.
It found that the average speed delivered in urban areas was 4.6 megabits per second (Mbps) compared with an average of 3.3 Mbps for rural consumers.
Countryside groups call for better broadband access