Silicon nitride layers with very low hydrogen content (less than 1 atomic percent) were deposited at near room temperature, from N2 and SiH4, with a multipolar electron cyclotron resonance plasma. The influences of pressure and nitrogen flow rate on physical and electrical properties were studied in order to minimize the hydrogen and oxygen content in the layers. The optimized layers were characterized by a refractive index of 1.98, a dielectric constant of 7.2, and Si/N ratio values of 0.78. The layers exhibited very good dielectric strength, which was confirmed by large breakdown fields of 12 MV/cm, very high resistivities of 1016 Omega cm, and maximum charges to breakdown values of 90 C/cm2. Increasing the deposition pressure and decreasing the N2 flow improved the SiN/Si interface, due to increased oxygen incorporation. The dominant conduction mechanism in the layers was the Poole-Frenkel effect. The critical field and the trap energy had similar dependencies on deposition pressure. Fowler-Nordheim tunneling occurred at high gate biases, for the layers deposited at the highest pressure of about 22 mTorr.