Coaches from League of Legends esports teams complain about internet quality in Berlin. The complaints range from days of no internet to a high ping. The highest European League of Legends competition is hosted from Berlin and the team houses are also located in the city.
The Splyce team coach, Hadrien Forestier, makes no bones about it in an interview with Dotesports. “Internet has always been terrible in Berlin during the last three years of my coaching. There is a very slow speed and bandwidth compared to what I am used to in France. Internet going out completely happens every now and then, at least several days during part of the season.”
Forestier recently complained on Twitter about a lost internet connection, which lasted at least five days, even though Splyce’s team house has two internet connections and a mobile backup connection. He says he does not understand why the LEC is still in Berlin: “This summer season we have already lost more than two full weeks of training because there was no internet”.
The Splyce coach has been applauded by other coaches and players who have described the internet situation in Berlin as ‘terribly bad’ and a ‘big problem’. The team manager of LEC team FC Schalke 04, Nicolas Farnir, reports that he has called his provider ten times in the past four months about dropped connections, high ping values, or a persistent lack of internet for days. Most of the LEC teams are provider Vodafone. According to Farnir, Vodafone has known about the problems for months, but the company has not been able to solve them. “It’s getting ridiculous by now and it’s not easy to cancel a contract in Germany,” he complains.
The problem occurs in large parts of Berlin, but also in many other parts of the country. In an article by NPR early this year, Claudia Engfeld of the Berlin Chamber of Commerce painted a rather negative picture, pointing out that connections in some parts of Berlin are so bad that companies have decided to relocate or ask their staff to work from home. . According to Engfeld, the problem lies in the infrastructure, which she says consists of old technology. “In Germany you can find copper almost everywhere that is not capable of speeds higher than 250Mbit/s. The average reality is 50Mbit/s and that’s pretty bad.”
Many people blame the dominant player, Deutsche Telekom. In Germany, the company is improving old copper lines through vectoring, the use of noise reduction algorithms. A spokesman for Deutsche Telekom acknowledged at the beginning of this year that a large-scale replacement of copper with fiberglass has not yet started. He states that if this had started four years ago, only ten to fifteen percent of German households would now have had access to 1Gbit/s. According to him, large fiber optic coverage is expensive, it reaches too few customers and the vast majority would still be at an average speed of 16Mbit/s. According to him, improving copper is better because it would have resulted in 80 percent of German households having access to speeds of up to 50Mbit/s.
The LEC is the highest professional European e-sports competition within the League of Legends game. Not only the studio where the players complete the professional matches is located in Berlin, but also all the team houses, where the players and the coaches stay and train. Splyce recently qualified as third team and thus has access to the preliminaries of the world championship, which starts in a few weeks.