The NEMO Phase-2 tower is the first detector which was operated underwater for more than 1 year at the “record” depth of 3500 m. It was designed and built within the framework of the NEMO (NEutrino Mediterranean Observatory) project. The 380 m high tower was successfully installed in March 2013 80 km offshore Capo Passero (Italy). This is the first prototype operated on the site where the Ital- ian node of the KM3NeT neutrino telescope will be built. The installation and operation of the NEMO Phase-2 tower has proven the functionality of the infrastructure and the oper- ability at 3500 m depth. A more than 1 year long monitoring of the deep water characteristics of the site has been also provided. In this paper the infrastructure and the tower struc- ture and instrumentation are described. The results of long term optical background measurements are presented. The rates show stable and low baseline values, compatible with the contribution of 40K light emission, with a small percentage of light bursts due to bioluminescence. All these features confirm the stability and good optical properties of the site.
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