regarding the pics of cabinets with no apparent services to the home these are probably (as has been said previously) whats known as 'stranded plant'.
the duct is in, the tees to the houses may well be in, but theres no trunk feeder cable or 50pr telephony cable pulled to cabinets and indeed no furniture inside the cabinets to which to terminate the cables onto.
however there is a dept within VM who will cost out areas such as these (hard works been done because the ducting is down) so theres every chance places like these would get a budget to activate them.
make enough noise on the cable my street website and they may take an interest.
as regards the ducting not serving resedential subs but going through towns and such,i live in a row of 4 houses (at No3), a VM duct runs past the gable end of No1 but it only carries the fibre between the hubsites at bolton and blackburn! so no cable for me