A new initiative, which has just received National Science Foundation support, has been undertaken in collaboration with the Center for Telecommunications Research at Columbia University. This project is to design and build a multi-Gb/s optoelectronic data transport network using self-routing packets in a multi-hop network. The single electronic word packet payloads are highly compressed using optical techniques, and remain optical from source to target while traversing the switching nodes. Optical packet switching is performed with custom LiNbO3 directional coupler switches. A lean, self-routing hot potato protocol avoids the need for data storage at the switching nodes and provides a fixed node latency equivalent to a few meters of fiber. Sustainable throughput both in to and out of the electronic host at each node should exceed 1 Gb/s, with higher speed bursts. Some technical details of the optical data packet compression and decompression schemes, the hot potato switching protocol, and the wrap-around shuffle-exchange interconnection network will be given. The project timetable anticipates a lower speed, proof-of-principle four node network in three years, and a higher speed, larger, engineering demonstration in five years.