I'd like to expand on Pieter Naaijkens's answer, because your question and his answer bear on a more general problem: when is a problem worth solving? Or viceversa, should one care about a paper solving this problem? I'll present the answer I've grown up with (as a PhD student), though I've seen wildly different opinions on this, so I don't think there's a fully objective view (though characterizing the spectrum of opinions is what matters here).
I've learned that it's up to the author to motivate the reader to care about the paper ("sell one's research"), though others might disagree; nowadays this is necessary because of the research-literature overload we live in. In applied fields, a common motivation is a set of (possibly indirect) applications. Different kind of motivations exist, but I'll conjecture that even good theoretical work should matter to other theoretical work to be good, and then leave other motivation out of scope.
Would you accept a paper (1) solving this latency problem for websites interacting with users? By your reasoning, I wouldn't (at least, not at a top venue). But let's assume that again Pieter Naaijkens submits a paper (2) on the topic. It first convinces readers that better latency matters by describing some application (say high-frequency trading, assuming this actually applies). Then, paper (2) solves the problem exactly like paper (1) above. The second paper could get past the same reviewers. I might even argue that with that motivation (assuming it's good), he might create a research question. And in some cases, simply motivating well a research question might be enough for a paper.
To demonstrate that wildly different opinions exist, I'll offer two opposite examples.
- I've seen a reviewer explain that a paper was good research but he wasn't sure whether it addressed any relevant problem; the reviewer concluded with a strong accept judgement. (Of course I won't share details).
- On the other hand, Tanenbaum's Modern Operating Systems book explains that some research had the only point of keeping otherwise unemployed graph theorists off the streets, because (it is hinted) the problem lacked actual applications.
Other examples of researchers questioning the motivation of other research abound, but I won't add further anecdotical evidence.